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Why you might want to consider more than 2GB VRAM for lower resolutions

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
375

2273MB of VRAM usage.

Yeah, it's modded Skyrim, like anyone could predict. Specifically inside the city of Markarth. I'm on 1680x1050 (upgrade to come), 8xMSAA, 16xAF, quality SSAO. I'm not half done modding this game yet, but I noticed my VRAM usage is already well above 2GB in several locations now, so I thought I'd inform you guys.

I'm now on a 4GB GTX680, non overclocked for now (temps are a bit higher than normal because I had to remove a few case fans that broke).

I have done nothing to provoke high VRAM usage (no 4K textures for butterflies and potatoes etc, have not yet touched the vanilla *.ini files). The image is not photoshopped. All I've done is install the 2K HD texture mods, some lighting mods and various other smaller mods. As I said, I'm not done yet so I expect VRAM usage to go up even further soon.

Normal VRAM usage outside currently seems to be around 1.6GB -> 1.8GB. I see 2GB+ mainly in the cities of Markarth and Solitude. I expect outside VRAM usage to go much higher when I start modifying draw/load distances and such in the *.ini files.

Anyway, this is only on 1680x1050. My point is that I don't think 2GB is very future proof, especially for any higher resolutions, when it takes as little as this to make a modern game cross that limit. That said, you'll be fine right now as long as you stay away from modded Skyrim - or if you are willing to turn down settings such as AA, but for how long?


EDIT: After *.ini tweaks I'm now pretty much constantly above 2GB usage outdoors, peak so far has been 2432MB usage. Still climbing as mods are added.
Edited by Oystein - 5/13/12 at 2:24pm
post #2 of 56
Most people running lower resolutions probably dont really care about 8xAA and running enhanced texture packs, nor are they likely to buy high end hardware. Most PC gamers aren't willing to spend 3-400 on just one part to enable a few features.
     
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post #3 of 56
Well..looks like you need at least 2gb to get nice video nowadays..Thanks for posting,OP :thumb.gif:
Hey..how do you monitor VRAM usage??
 
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post #4 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsemama1956 View Post

Most people running lower resolutions probably dont really care about 8xAA and running enhanced texture packs, nor are they likely to buy high end hardware. Most PC gamers aren't willing to spend 3-400 on just one part to enable a few features.

1980x1020 is one of the most common resolutions for gamers, and they definitely want their AA and texture packs. Not saying everyone should go out and buy a 6GB VRAM video card today, but what people have been saying about 2GB being enough to max out non-surround resolutions is apparently misleading.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmuckley View Post

Well..looks like you need at least 2gb to get nice video nowadays..Thanks for posting,OP :thumb.gif:
Hey..how do you monitor VRAM usage??

Oh Skyrim looked quite alright even with my less than 1GB VRAM GTX260, but yeah I think we can expect future games to use more than 2GB on max settings.

I used EVGA Precision X for VRAM monitoring, but most GPU overclocking utilities (like MSI Afterburner) can do it.
post #5 of 56
So, because Skyrim will cache more if you have more Vram, that means we should buy cards with more? To be clear, just because the game will use it if its there doesn't mean it actually needs it to play. Its simply smart programming to allow it to load more textures if the capacity is there.
post #6 of 56
If you don't have all that VRam, do you lose anything more than a few FPS?
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post #7 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorpion49 View Post

So, because Skyrim will cache more if you have more Vram, that means we should buy cards with more? To be clear, just because the game will use it if its there doesn't mean it actually needs it to play. Its simply smart programming to allow it to load more textures if the capacity is there.

All games will cache some unnecessary data, but I don't think Skyrim does it "because it can". I saw no increase in VRAM usage going from my GTX 260 to the 680 with the same settings. Also, the VRAM usage in Skyrim is always changing depending on where in the city you are and where you are looking, so it doesn't look like the game just dumps the whole city into VRAM "because it can". It seems to be constantly optimizing. And as a programmer I can tell you that loading textures is something that eats cycles as well, so you don't want to waste resources doing that on textures that you aren't likely going to need. Of course I don't know how the game is coded, so you might well be right, but I would not count on it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillOhio View Post

If you don't have all that VRam, do you lose anything more than a few FPS?
Usually not at first. Most games have some headroom where you will see no difference, then you'll start to see a minor difference, and then if you push further you'll see a big difference, then a slideshow. I tested this in Just Cause 2 with my old GTX 260. First I was at no AA with around 50 fps - VRAM some places maxed according to MSI Afterburner, then at 2xMSAA I immediately dropped to around 20 fps on average. At 4xMSAA I had 1-2 fps. I did not get any crashes, though. Just awful performance.
post #8 of 56
Well this kind of sucks, I was planning on getting the GTX 670 ASUS Direct 2GB JUST to play Skyrim and GTA modded. Now I'm having doubts at 1920x1200.
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post #9 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helltech View Post

Well this kind of sucks, I was planning on getting the GTX 670 ASUS Direct 2GB JUST to play Skyrim and GTA modded. Now I'm having doubts at 1920x1200.
You'll be perfectly fine. Seriously.

Go into the Skyrim modding thread in the PC gaming section, there are people in there with 1GB cards playing at 1920x1200/1080 with tons of mods and they're all fine. You can also perform additional optimization on textures to improve performance while maintaining visual quality (if you even need to do that).
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post #10 of 56
Hello,

Newcomer here, so with that in mind, does that mean that

7850 2gb non OC is better than 560 ti 1gb OC??

just trying to figure out which card to put in for my new build.

An 2011 NVIDIA card? or a 2012 AMD card, since the people say AMD drivers suck, so overall prefer nvidia cards.

Thank you

-darbebo
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