A long debated subject: Small GFX card with lots of RAM

By red1776 ยท 17 replies
Oct 1, 2009
  1. myself and others at Techspot have long been telling folks that purchasing a small graphics card with big ram is futile, and Tom's has done a definitive and comprehensive article/bench on the subject. so for all who think they are getting better bang for the buck buying that 9500GT with 1Gb of ram, you might want to check this out.

  2. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    I'm a little confused. I'm also going to say I understand the results fully. They tested with a 4870 which on all games other than Crysis (That basterd hell child it is) ran fine at most resolutions with its 512MB of VRAM. I do see how the 1GB model is the sweet spot. I'd be willing to say that if you know anything about graphics and I mean actual knowledge, not people who have single a HD4830 and think they play that Crysis game on high with frame rates above 30 FPS, you would already know this. I'll also state that its a marketing ploy by graphics card companies trying to push their lower end cards to the uninformed, and man does it seem to work,

    Something we already know but can now use to confused those who don't know even more. The only thing I think I got out of that is seeing how much of a (insert word for prostitute here) GTA4 is with VRAM :haha:

    PS its getting late I'm not entirely sure what I'm talking about.
  3. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Topic Starter Posts: 5,224   +164

    ROFL! yes....yes it is. and you are right about the marketing gimmick. they (the graphic card vendors) get their hands on a load of cheap ram and slap 1Gb on small cards and people eat them up. what a lot of folks don't know. is that that much ram on a card that will never use it has been shown to actually slow the card down a slight bit.
  4. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    You know, if everyone knew everything about computers where would techspot be? We need people to post question that we can have fun answering and informing people of what they need to know.

    Then again marketing is never a good thing if Dilbert tough me anything...
  5. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Topic Starter Posts: 5,224   +164

    HEY!!! im in marketing! ROFL Geez :p:haha:
  6. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    My Bad? I know, Current parties excluded! :cool:
  7. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    you guys make me laugh but you are right 1gb on a 9400 lol
  8. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 930   +31

    i think the worst gimmick is the bottom end cards with 1gb or 512mb DDR2 ram, not even GDDR2 RAM! although i own a 9500gt with 512 gddr3 myself. well mine is supposedly a budget machine. lol
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,996   +2,528

    I don't know if this is what you're referring to but,some very low budget cards that call themselves "512MBs", only carry maybe128MB of their own RAM onboard, and make up the rest with the system RAM. So, this would obviously of necessity be DDR2, and not graphics RAM.

    The memory clock in 9500GT cards runs a@ 800 to 1000Mhz w/ GDDR2, but from 1400 to 1800Mhz w/ GDDR3.

    Thus, if the clock speed is about double, then the data would be throughput and gone w/ 512MB GDDR3, in about half the time of GDDR2. I think if you tried to load a full 1GB of GDDR2, that figure would improve to 1/4 of the time, but I'm not certain of my math on that.

    I have one of the 9500s with 512MB GDDR3, and most people inform me that the card is still pitiable. Meh, who cares, I stole it from Newegg on Black Friday last. I think after all the promo codes and MIR it wound up costing 35 bucks.
  10. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,073   +219

    35$ good game :)
    This nvidia 275 takes up 775 mb of my ddr3 ram. I was surprised when I ran dxdiag for the first time to see it took out such a huge chunk. This seems to be a one sided debate so far, but im staying tuned!
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,996   +2,528

  12. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    After a quick search on newegg both cards retail for the same price, kinda sad really when you look at the memory bandwidth difference. The uninformed will be suckered into buying the 1GB model just because its screaming 1GB!!! at them but do not realize that it in fact has less performance than the 512MB model. I'm still a little confused on your wording however where you say "This is with slower memory clock frequencies than are available on many cards" what exactly are you referring to, I'm just a little dumb right now so excuse the question if its a really simple answer.

    PS Check out this fine bit of marketing

  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,996   +2,528

    Nvidia list 9500GT memory clock frequencies as follows; GDDR2 500Mhz and GDDR3 as 800Mhz. However, check out the memory clock frequencies on other manufacturers 9500GT card here at Newegg; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...048 106792522 1067942535&name=GeForce 9500 GT All of the listed memory clock frequencies are higher across the board. It seems that all the memory clocks are overclocked. As to what effect this might have on ultimate memory bandwidth I can only speculate. Since the spread between GDDR2 & GDDR3 (overclocked) maintains the same approximate ratio that is listed in the stock clocks, it easy to suggest that the throughput ratio would remain pretty much the same as stock.

    It does seem quite obvious that no matter how much GDDR2 is installed, that 512 of GDDR3 "will clean its clock",so to speak. And yes that was a bad pun.
  14. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    Oooh, okay now I see what you were saying. Thanks for clarifying.
  15. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 930   +31

    exactly! i was typing wrongly, it should be those "turbocache" or "hypermemory" isn't it? i saw some cards which says up to 512mb memory, while it only has 128 dedicated memory. lol

    like my notebook, it has those gimmick "turbocache" which is not helping at all, i wish i could eliminate the software that 'stole' the RAM and inject it to graphic card, which finally do almost nothing. too bad i couldn't find any.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,996   +2,528

    I had one additional "thought" on the memory clock issue. I know you love marketing ploys, so follow along. DDR2 & 3 are "quad pumped", as opposed to old fashioned DDR, which is dual pumped. Thus "effective" memory clock speed is double what it would be for DDR, which only exchanges 2 bytes per clock cycle as opposed to 4 with DDR2 &3.

    So, some of those really extravagantly high memory clock speeds advertised, may in fact be "effective speeds", and not the actual clock speeds. More than a 100% overclock is possible I suppose, but not that likely. Either that, or the Nvidia stock memory clock figure is absurdly low.
  17. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    How does plain old DDR fall into this discussion, that stuff hasn't been used on a video card in a long time, I figure something like 5 or 6 years by now but could be wrong. Also I think I can safely assume that you mean DDR2 and 'G'DDR3, again I don't think I've ever seen DDR3 used on a graphics card but could still be wrong. The advantages of GDDR3 over DDR2 is lower voltages and the ability to do strobe signaling for faster read write abilities, this does result in higher latency however. I'm sure your already well aware of all this. So again my question is why bring up DDR?
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,996   +2,528

    This is the same issue as, "why is my memory clock only saying 200Mhz when my RAM is 8oo Mhz"?

    Advertisers are not above referencing clock speed comparisons back to DDR, (dual data rate) RAM, which while obsolete, is still a sort of a reference standard.

    I still find it curious that Nvidia lists GDDR3 memory clock speed @ 800Mhz while other manufacturers are claiming memory clock speeds up yo 1800Mhz. You gotta admit, more than a hundred percent overclock is remarkable. Is Nvidia's spec sheet wrong, I don't know, do you?

    Once upon a time, memory clock speed equaled memory speed, since memory was "SDR", single data rate.

    And yes, the faster you run RAM the looser the timings must become. (due to increased latency).

    How manufacturers manipulate the specifications of all things electronic is a fascinating subject in and of itself. The end game is always the same, to tell you what you want to hear.
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