RAM of the Graphics Cards

Hello guys,

Was talking to a guy in a shop and he said to me that amount of RAM on a Graphics card is basically a trading trick - in fact it doesn't matter whether it's 128 or 256 Mb. I didn't agree with him but since I was on his grounds, I just nodded I went off. Though, I can say that everytime I updated my video card, I always could say a difference - not very big may be, but still quite noticable.

Can you second his opinion, or may explain me a bit more about RAM on Graphics cards?

Thanks,
Yurich
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YurichAsked:
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
For the vast majority of uses the amount of memory won't make any noticeable difference; but if you're a heavy gamer you'll probably benefit from more memory.   For most uses you'll be quite happy with 128mb (or even less).   Since most display requirements actually require much less memory than what's on modern graphics cards, some of the newer graphics cards are being designed to do what Intel has done for a few years with their integrated graphics subsystems -- dynamically allocate the memory used.  In fact, the "fixed" allocation on Intel's Dynamic Video Memory Technology chipsets is at MOST 16mb (and they are typically set for 8mb).   They allocate more when needed -- but if you run a program to log the usage you'll find that it very rarely uses more.   Note that to contain a full image requires relatively little memory -- a 2048 x 1536 image at 32-bit color depth (max) only needs 12,582,912 bytes (~ 12mb) => the memory in the cards isn't so much to contain the image (a relatively small requirement), but to load textures, have working space for the GPU as it computes graphics primitives (lines, polygons, circles, fills, etc.), have space for the computation of the sophisticated 3D functions modern cards support (anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering are particularly demanding) and for those cards that support multiple displays to hold the "other" display as well.

... as for all the automotive analogies above ==> I'd equate the amount of memory more to the SIZE of the card; not to the engine.  The GPU is like the engine -- i.e. how much "horsepower" (in the automotive analogy it's probably more accurate to say horsepower/pound)  the graphics engine has determines how quickly it can build a display; whereas the memory (size) determines how much capacity it has.   Whether or not more memory is useful to you is a function of what you'll be doing with the card -- just as whether or not a bigger car is useful depends on what you'll be using it for.   If you have a 2-seat Porsche turbo you can go FAST (i.e. build a display quickly), but if you need to get 6 people from point A to point B you'll need a bigger card (i.e. more memory).

For the 9600Pro you're considering, 128mb is plenty of memory.   This is a very nice card, but is not one you'll be using for high levels of AA or AF.   As you can see in the comparison link provided by PurpleSky above, the speed of the GPU is what will show you the most improvement -- and you're moving up to a much nicer GPU than you currently have.   It IS true that for the SAME GPU, a card with more memory will perform better, but the difference gets pretty marginal above a reasonable threshold -- and for a 9600 Pro 128mb is easily at that threshold.
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jhanceCommented:
The more onboard RAM the more space there is to contain the image.  This is not an issue with 800 x 600 x 256 colors but the higher the video resolution and color depth the more RAM it takes.  These days I would not even consider a card with less than 256MB.
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jhanceCommented:
BTW, I'm not sure what "trading trick" means.  But if this dude is intending to imply that more RAM is worthless, he's misinformed and that is probably why he's working at a computer shop.
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Purple_SkyCommented:
If you tweak right you can match the performances of 128 mb and 256 mb but this is very relative. More ram on the card sure boosts the performance.  A v4 engine and v6 engine will take you to work fine, but a v4 wont win a race.
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Purple_SkyCommented:
BUT compare these two cards to see an exception :


http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductCompare.asp?SubCategory=48&CompareItemList=N82E16814143027%2CN82E16814143040

one of them is 256 mb and one of them is 128 and 128 beats 256. So memory is not a great measure for a decision.

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jhanceCommented:
>>but a v4 wont win a race.

Not really a good example.  In fact many 4-cyl engines have won races even against V8s.  Since this is May, check your Indy 500 history.  The 4-cyl Offenhauser engine was a very successful design for many years.  It won many races against V8 powered cars...
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Purple_SkyCommented:
@jhance..
:) jhance i gave an example for an exception with the cards :)
To be honest I am a car newb and wasnt talking about hardcore racing :)
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jhanceCommented:
I'm just playing with you....  ;-)
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Purple_SkyCommented:
yay thread hijacking :)
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bhanukir7Commented:
hi there

first of all when we talk about a graphics card its more are less about the visual experience we are talking about i.e say u want to work or a 3D image or a package the more grahpics card ram u have the better so also if ur playing a 3D game the experience u get like say it the gaming software has a decpiction of water or the sky or for matter of fact the blood spilled on the ground is different from the experience u have on a graphics shared memory.

the memory of a graphics card matters when u want to work on video editing or things like that otherwise u will not realise much difference when ur working in a normal desktop environment. u will not notice the change in a normal environment but will surely notice the difference when ur using a video editing/3D imaging software/3D games.

goodluck

bhanu
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YurichAuthor Commented:
Thank you guys,
Yurich
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
You're most welcome.
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