GTX680 and 7970 vram

Status
Not open for further replies.

Bl1zz4rd

Honorable
Apr 25, 2012
29
0
10,530
0
I've been becoming rather annoyed by the lack of solid answers with reference to the vram amounts on the two top single-GPU cards available at the moment being sufficient for gaming. What is certain is that as it stands, the GTX680 is the best, despite it's smaller amount of memory.

I am not concerned about pricing, temperatures, fan noise or appearance. I merely want to have a card which will be able to sustain playing every single game that is currently out and will be released before the next generation of GPUs are launched. I want to be able to play them with ALL the settings on MAX, everything that can be enabled, enabled and with 'decent' FPS (ie. no lag.) I have been doing the same thing for ages - buying the top single-GPU card, playing everything on max for a year and then getting another, so as to keep up with the games which are released.

I have a number of questions that are unanswered, despite my reading and watching numerous reviews (both specific to each card and comparative) and scrolling through a large amount of threads related to the topic.

1. Why is it that Nvidia released the 680 with 2GB when they knew that AMD had a card out with 3GB. Providing more memory would make the cards last longer. Was it due to their knowing that without it, the card would still win, and therefore they saved on costs? I have read, on multiple sites, that the 680 is in fact what the 670 was going to be and was labelled the 680 when Nvidia saw that their expectations of the 7970 were greater than what was produced.

2. How is it that Nvidia managed to get the 680 to win, with less memory? Is it due to the fact that games don't require more than 2GB at present? Is it because of the memory clock being higher? (I have read somewhere that this may be the case.) Does the processing power counter the card having less memory?

3.Do games at present require more than 2GB of vram? I know this relates to the above question, but it's distinct. Will there be games throughout the next year that do? The next Metro, Crysis 3 and Max Payne 3 are all games that I suspect of doing so.

4. Is there a way to tell, genuinely, how much memory a game uses? I have seen opinions amounting to 'a game uses whatever is available, so if the card has 3GB, the usage results will be close to this.' If that is true, how is the actual usage determined?

I can already see this thread being filled with people saying 'blahblah, games don't require more than 1GB of ram, i still have a card-x and it runs everything on max' and 'if you want to run multiple monitors, you need more than 2GB, otherwise not nonsensenonsense.' There will probably be a lot of biased opinions, due to certain people liking one of the two brands more. Hopefully, there won't be much of that though, and the thread can be a logical, fact-motivated discussion, rather than a harsh debate.

I am accustomed to building PCs and keep up-to-date with the latest hardware developments. I say this so that people don't suspect me of being a complete noob, with a lack of understanding, and decide to explain things using simple terms.

I am gaming with a 27" 1080p LCD and would like (if possible with a single card) to get above 60fps in all games. If not, I may consider getting another. No other components in my system will result in the card's performance decreasing. For the sake of equality, I will be buying a stock card, using a reference PCB design and cooler. If it turns out that the 2GB 680 will last until the next generation of cards, then I'll get it, as I like the new technology that Nvidia has included, such as FXAA, adaptive V-sync and the proven-to-make-a-difference-in-visuals PhysX. I don't care that only a few games use PhysX, if the option is available, I'd like to be able to make use of it. Better graphics are better. Aah, circular logic.
 

Bl1zz4rd

Honorable
Apr 25, 2012
29
0
10,530
0
Well, not ALL games. It's cool though, I'm fine with less, so long as it's above 30, so as to prevent lag.

It's hard to believe that 2GB of vram can support that much. I've seen BF3 use 2GB of memory in MP, on the large maps. Perhaps it's, as I mentioned above, a matter of 'use what the card has' or at least, SAY that the usage is close to what the GPU has.
 

Bl1zz4rd

Honorable
Apr 25, 2012
29
0
10,530
0
The 680 doesn't only have less memory though:


680:

bandwidth - 192.256
bus width - 256


7970:

bandwidth - 264
bus width - 384


Are those aspects relative to the amount of memory? If they aren't then it means the 680 is a worse card when considering memory as a whole. It also means that it's a bigger accomplishment that the 680 is better than the 7970.
 

Bl1zz4rd

Honorable
Apr 25, 2012
29
0
10,530
0
Fair enough. Another example is the memory clock being 1375 on the 7970 and 6008 on the 680. To a tard, it'd seem as though the 680 is over 4x better in that aspect. It's just amazing how different the numbers can be, yet how close the performance is.
 

Bl1zz4rd

Honorable
Apr 25, 2012
29
0
10,530
0
Are the plans I've heard about for a 4GB version of the 680 true? Wiki lists a 4GB variant. I wonder if that card will have increased bandwidth and bus width, or if just the memory amount will increase.

BigMack70, that info is very helpful.

Why does the game use the extra memory if it doesn't require it? It'd be interesting to know what the frames were when it was using those different amounts.

The Witcher 2 is another game which has extremely high requirements in terms of playing it on max, especially with ubersampling on. The frames drop rapidly if it's enabled.
 

Bl1zz4rd

Honorable
Apr 25, 2012
29
0
10,530
0
The only time I'll consider having an SLI or Crossfire configuration is when a single card no longer allows me to play the latest games on max.

If a situation arises where one of either of the two aforementioned GPUs lasts until the next launch, next year, then I won't even consider a second.

That amount of vram usage in The Witcher 2 is surprisingly low, considering what I've seen most people say it uses. All instances were of usage around 1.2 - 1.6GB. Apparently the .ini file says that the game allocates 600MB of vram just for textures, when they're set to max. That makes sense though, considering how amazing the game looks.
 

tlg

Distinguished
Feb 3, 2011
101
0
18,690
1
With my oc'ed 7970 (1100/1475) The Witcher 2 runs at 60fps capped without ubersampling and around 30-40fps with ubersampling on - however, the first minute of gameplay after the first loading havs some bad fps drops and then its all good.

On skyrim I've gone past 2.2GB of Vram usare (but I've stopped playing that game a month ago or so).

Generally 2GB for 1 screen is LARGELY enough. I think if I had to choose a card now that the GTX680 is out, I'd pick a pre-oc'ed GTX680 version mostly due to better prices for the same performance. (I currently have XFX 7970BEDD). I score 9100 points in 3dmark11 with a 4Ghz i7 930, so I don't know why in reviews with uber systems the 7970 scores so much lower.
 
GTX680 2GB vs 4GB

First of all, let me just say that 2GB is plenty. For people stressed about 3GB on the HD7970 vs 2GB on the GTX680 quit overthinking it. That's what BENCHMARKS are for.

I monitored the VRAM usage at Ultra settings for several games (don't have Skyrim or BF3) and never once went above 1200MB's.

Just Case 2 (2560x1440, MAX SETTINGS) used 700MB.
Dirt 3 (2560x1440, max) used 930MB.

4GB cards:
Tweaktown just did a review comparing 4GB vs 2GB 680's and the results are completely incorrect. They showed a small performance boost for every game with the 4GB. Where they screwed up is that the improvements is soley due to GPU BOOST as a result of the better cooling solution.

For example they showed a 10% improvement in Just Cause 2 which is basically impossible since it couldn't even use 1GB so it certainly didn't need more than 2GB.

There might be a game or two that can actually use more than 2GB of VRAM, but I'd be surprised if that was while ALSO achieving 60FPS.

*Simply put, 2GB of VRAM is the proper amount of memory for the GTX680 when paired with a single monitor up to 2560x1600.
 

Bl1zz4rd

Honorable
Apr 25, 2012
29
0
10,530
0
tlg, awesome to get some actual results.

The fact that The Witcher 2 can run on a 7970 with ubersampling on at over 30fps is pleasing. I'm leaning towards it now, as getting it will enable me to be sure that if games come out within the next year that do require more than 2GB of ram, which I think will occur, I'll be able to play them. If I run out of processing power elsewhere on the card, or want higher framerates I can always get another.

For me, "generally" isn't good enough. I want to be assured that I'll have enough vram for every game.

When you're playing The Witcher 2, is everything on max? Is your skyrim modded? (I assume so, since the vanilla skyrim doesn't look very good, and I can't believe that it'd require that much memory without being customized.)

Do you have any coil whine? That was something that made me rather skeptical of getting one. I've seen SO MANY threads of people raging about it and none about the 680 having the same problem. It's shite that cards that cost so much, and are supposed to be advanced and BETTER than their predecessors, have stuff like that.
 

mitunchidamparam

Distinguished
Jan 14, 2012
192
0
18,690
3
At present there are no games which can use more than 2 GB, but I am sure before the next generation cards come out all modern games will be using more than 2GB. because the present games are reaching the 2 GB limit.
So for your requirement I would go with the 7970.
 

Bl1zz4rd

Honorable
Apr 25, 2012
29
0
10,530
0
With the difference between "ultra" and "maxed" being?

Those skyrim settings constitute an example of what I wouldn't be able to achieve with a 680.

Is it a possibility that the coil whine happens to a certain number of cards released at a specific time, and the next shipment doesn't have it? It's either that, or one out of every x number have it and the consumer who buys that one is sad. Many people who have have RMAd theirs, which is what I'd do if I got one that had that insanely tiring noise.
 

aicom

Honorable
Mar 29, 2012
923
0
11,160
54
One thing I'd add is that running another display on the side tends to drive up VRAM usage too. I do my gaming on a 1080p monitor with a 1440x900 secondary monitor with task manager, skype, GPU-Z, etc running. I've also been playing Witcher 2 with everything maxed except ubersampling on my 7870 and I've seen memory usage much higher than the 1GB figure (more like 1.7 GB). My guess is that Windows does some optimizations (perhaps swapping data from VRAM to system RAM to free up some GPU resources) when a full-screen DirectX application is running. This obviously wouldn't work with a second active display that wasn't used by the DX application.
 

17seconds

Champion
Moderator
The 3gb is a marketing thing. With the previous generation 6900 series, everyone was happy with 2gb, but now that the 7900's are out, suddenly 2gb is not enough. In reality, even if you max out your memory, it's only going to have a minimal FPS impact. It doesn't make the game unplayable. All the same, you're not going to max out 2gb on a single screen.

To check your in-game memory usage, use Afterburner and monitor the memory usage in the performance graph. I use 1.4gb on Skyrim with 8x AA, 2x TrSSA, and the Hi-Def textures.
 
G

Guest

Guest
First of all, great thread, Bl1zz4rd. I wanted to ask the same question myself long time ago:)

Now, I have a reference Gigabyte 7970. I am thinking of selling it and getting 680 GTX (or wait for 685 GTX????) for a few reasons:

1. PhysX. I tried to persuade myself by common amd-fanboys-clan's replicas like "it is not that important feature", "only few games use it", "it is not fair! Nvidia pays game developers for PhysX forcing them to use it! Nya!" or "it cripples your performance" but... You cannot lie to yourself:) It is an amazing feature! I have never seen a better INTERACTIVE physics in any other game, maybe except Source engine games like HL2 or CS: Source, those are great too. I personally think PhysX should be used in more games, not just in a few.

2. If I would be buying a VGA right now, I would go with 680 GTX, simply because it has better performance. Ignore people saying that 7970 will beat 680 GTX at the same clock speeds, cuz it won't:

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/04/04/nvidia_kepler_geforce_gtx_680_overclocking_review/5

I guess VRAM does not make much difference at least on 23-27" screens, as you can see from the link above, in half of the games tested, 680 GTX still outperforms 7970 at the same clock speeds but with less VRAM and lower memory bus interface. Too bad HardOCP didn't do a triple monitor benchmark comparison of those 2 video cards clocked at the same frequencies...

3. Driver problems. It is not that big and terrible problem as Nvidia-fanboys think it is. I had games crashes about 8 times during 3 months I own it. The way crashing goes is I get a game freeze, then desktop crash with error message in tray saying something like "Catalyst drivers were shut down and been recovered successfully". Most of the crashes were in Witcher 2 with ubersampling on. When I turned US off, drivers stopped crashing in that game, but continued to do so in Shogun 2 with everything on max. And I also get 30-40 FPS in Witcher 2 with ubersampling on, which makes game looks so much better, but it cripples the performance.

4. Coil whine. Guess what, it presents and it's annoying. I actually hear it constantly during some game menus: Anno 2070 and STALKER: SoC, as well as in 3DMark 05 during loading screens of benchmarks tests.

That were my 2 cents:)
 

Bl1zz4rd

Honorable
Apr 25, 2012
29
0
10,530
0
mitunchidamparam, I've already established, in this thread, that a heavily modded skyrim uses a lot more than 2GB of vram. The chances of games being released soon that do make use of more than 2GB are quite high. The fact that current games are using so close to that amount supports that.

matto17secs, as per the above point, 3GB of memory can't be only for marketing purposes. Having said that, there is no doubt that it is used as such, but rightfully so, as it results in the 7970 being better.

If I manage to "max out" the memory, it probably means that more is needed.

Veirtimid, hopefully the content will be beneficial to both myself and others asking the same questions. Long, descriptive comments like yours, with substantiation, are really nice. If only everyone provided the same.

I can testify to the fact that the drivers aren't as bad as what they are said to be. I know various people with 7000 series cards, none of whom have experienced one single driver-related problem. Perhaps they WERE bad, but that aspect has been addressed along with the release of the new GPUs.

PhysX is amazing. I used it on my GTX470 in numerous games and it made a noticeable difference. I don't really care about the fact that few games use it in terms of deciding which card to get. If ANY games use it, I want to be able to enable it. It makes things better, and I, as mentioned previously, want to run the games with EVERYTHING on max and all possible settings enabled. It would be nice if more, or all new games started using it.

Perhaps getting a custom 7970 will allow for abnormal noises to be avoided. The Asus direct cu2 version looks awesome, and it also runs cooler and quieter (according to, uhm, Asus.) No reviews are online, which is strange, considering how long the card's been available for.

I really can't see how someone can see a comment stating that someone has managed to get a game to use over 2GB of vram, and then say that no game uses more than that. Either trolls or people comment without looking at the rest of the thread, in which case... dafuq.
 

mightymaxio

Distinguished
Nov 9, 2009
1,193
0
19,360
48

mitunchidamparam

Distinguished
Jan 14, 2012
192
0
18,690
3


I am sorry that I did not see your comment because when i was commenting i had a call and I did not post it and i posted some time later, so I did not see your comment.
So ya, i think a custom 7970 would be awesome because the 7970 ghz edition beats the 680 in clock to clock.
 

Bl1zz4rd

Honorable
Apr 25, 2012
29
0
10,530
0
mightymaxio, are you sure about the 685 being the fastest card? All evidence points towards the 680 being the best that Nvidia's going to release in this series. If it's the fastest single-GPU card available, there's no reason to release a GTX685.

My previous point about the 680 actually being what was intended to be the 670 si related to this. I've seen that rumor numerous times online and I can see how it could be true. It'd also explain why the 680 has the lower memory specifications.

Nvidia designs multiple cards and has a more powerful one in mind as the competitor to the 7970. The AMD card is released and Nvidia realises that it's not as good as they expected it to be. They use what would have been the 670 as the 680, as they figure out it can beat the 7970, and everything shifts down. They save on costs (and can maybe use the 680 tech for the next series.) It's possible.
 

Bl1zz4rd

Honorable
Apr 25, 2012
29
0
10,530
0
http://www.geforce.com/whats-new/articles/its-coming-countdown/

It'd be interesting to know what that's referring to. ^

My guess is the 690.
 

aicom

Honorable
Mar 29, 2012
923
0
11,160
54
The 7970 is definitely a competitive part with the 680. The 680 has a higher density of compute units per die area than the 7970 due to the latter's extra hardware needed to implement hardware scheduling. The 680 tends to have better performance in games, but the 7970 crushes the 680 in compute performance (even the 7850 and 580 easily beats the 680). I'm interested to see what they'll do with the Quadro and Tesla customers that they really helped out with Fermi and its hardware scheduler. They're alienating that market now with Kepler.
 

aicom

Honorable
Mar 29, 2012
923
0
11,160
54
Looks like a monster but I can't help but think the power consumption is going to be pretty high and the die is going to be huge. I could see why TSMC had issues with GK110.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY