What specs are important in video cards?

By tastegw
Jan 10, 2008
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  1. witch of these specs are most important when it comes time to choose video cards?

    pixel pipelines
    video memory (size)
    memory type (ddr, ddr2, ddr3, ect)
    memory clock (in MHz)
    memory bus/interface (in bits)
    memory bandwidth (per second)
    shader clock (in MHz)
    gpu core clock (in MHz)


    ok, i may have missed a few, let me know if i did.

    here is what i think, memory type and memory clock are very important.
    memory bus and bandwidth are also very important.

    from my experience, the gpu core clock isnt as big as the manufactures are making it to be, from 400MHz to 675MHz there is only a few frames per second difference for me on my machine.
    and only 100points or so added in the 3DMark score aswell.

    shader clock i would imagine should be atleast 1k or higher but im not sure.

    no clue about pixel pipelines or stream proccesors. fill me in on this part.

    and memory size, i think 256 seems to be the standard starting point.
    to be honest, from my 128mb card to my 512mb card, i dont see a differnce worth noting.

    fill me in on what specs are worth looking in to since im kinda clueless here.

    thanks for any support.
  2. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 875

  3. tastegw

    tastegw TechSpot Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 246

    ah, thank you, i could have sworn i came accross this at one point, maybe i just didnt read into it like i should have ;)

    im reading it now tho. just started part 2, and i have learned so far bandwidth > memory size

    read it all now. so its definatly not worth spending $100 more on a vid card with 512mb ddr3 memory compared to its brother (same brand and model) with only 256. they showed a 2% increase in frames per second between the two.
    the place where memory size comes in handy past 256 is when your using really high resolutions like 1600x1200 or more or somethinng like that.

    thanks a bunch, was a good read.
  4. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,909

    Another time a lot of memory is useful is when you're using lots of AA/AF, even at lower resolutions. 512 MB of memory is recommended for any good card these days. But memory speed and memory bus are far more important than the size. What's the point of having a lot of memory when it takes the card a long time to access it?

    Pixel Shaders and Vertex Shaders are important as well, although with any AMD 2000 series or newer and Nvidia 8000 series and newer, Pixel and Vertex Shaders have been replaced by a Unified Shader Architecture, which is comprised of varying amounts of Stream Processors. Stream Processors are capable of either Vertex Shading, Pixel Shading, Physics operations, and many other things as needed by the card. Their function changes based on the needs of the 3D application.

    So the faster the Memory Clock, Core Clock and (if applicable) Shader Clock, the more Stream Processors available and the higher the Memory Bus, the faster the video card is.

    Of course you need to make sure that the video card you want to purchase will fit into your computer. Video cards are typically made for one of three slots, PCI, AGP and PCI-E (2.0), in order of worst to best. PCI is very slow, and only very low end budget cards, usually intended for home-theatre PCs are made for PCI slots. AGP is moderately fast, several times faster than PCI, and indeed fast enough to compete with PCI-E. However, very few video cards are made for AGP these days, and almost no high end cards are ported over to AGP. PCI-E, or PCI-Express is the newest interface. While it is faster than AGP, most video cards don't take advantage of the extra bandwidth. Any time a new video card comes out these days, it is almost always made for PCI-E first, then ported over to AGP and/or PCI as the manufacturer sees fit.

    Anyway, just a rundown of what to look for when buying a video card, although I'm sure you knew most of the stuff about the different slots. :)

    EDIT: I just realized that I edited this post like nine times. ;)
  5. Lapaka

    Lapaka Newcomer, in training

    +1 really good
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