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Future of integrated CPU/GPU packages + VRAM? (Discrete VRAM?)

Poll Results: Will APU-compatible motherboards start to take dedicated VRAM sticks in the next few years?

 
  • 33% (1)
    Yes.
  • 66% (2)
    No.
3 Total Votes  
post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Hey all. This might be interesting to anybody whose interest is piqued by the fairly new APU chips (either Intel or AMD). For simplicity's sake, "APU" means "CPU with on-chip GPU".

So, is anyone else getting cozy with AMD's APU chips? From what I understand, they are basically AMD's answer to the Intel i3, i5, and i7 chips that incorporate a GPU onto the CPU package. I've been using an A8 on a computer I built for work, and I've been impressed with the power and versatility. However, I really haven't put it through the wringer like some have, and after doing a bit of research, I see a huge issue where the on-chip GPU uses system RAM instead of the delicious double-bandwidth VRAM we so enjoy with our discrete graphics cards.

AMD allows you to link your "APU" graphics with a similar/like model of discrete GPU card, and this actually lets the APU use the graphics card's VRAM (as I understand it). I hope your gfx card has a good amount of RAM!

While this Crossfire-ish setup is hopefully a huge improvement over using regular DDR3, I can imagine (speculatively) that new mobo/chipset standards will allow for dedicated VRAM slots on the mainboard (that will take discrete sticks of GDDR5) and removing the need for a discrete GPU card for the sake of using actual VRAM.

Instead of compromising by:
  1. Just buying an APU and suffering with system RAM for gaming graphics, while saving money, or
  2. Biting the bullet and just paying more for discrete graphics in addition to APU, or
  3. Doing the classic CPU + discrete GPU card combo and probably paying most,
money could be saved without compromising performance much if at all. VRAM sticks would certainly cost less than a whole graphics card, so instead of buying MOBO + APU + GPU, you'd buy MOBO + APU + VRAM.

Thoughts? Go! GOGOGOGO.
-Slink
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(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
C3 955BE Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe WiFi XFX GeForce 9800 GTX+ 2x2GB OCZ "Reaper 2" DDR2-1150 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
250G B'cuda, 1T Samsung Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7170S black Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus Windows 7 Ultimate x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Asus LCD 1680*1050 Microsoft Natural 4000 Antec Truepower 2.0 480w blue Coolermaster Centurion 5 (blk/slvr+windw) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Coolermaster CM Storm Xornet Rich Mahogany Bookshelf speakers Standalone speaker amplifier 
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Sentry
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
C3 955BE Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe WiFi XFX GeForce 9800 GTX+ 2x2GB OCZ "Reaper 2" DDR2-1150 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
250G B'cuda, 1T Samsung Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7170S black Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus Windows 7 Ultimate x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Asus LCD 1680*1050 Microsoft Natural 4000 Antec Truepower 2.0 480w blue Coolermaster Centurion 5 (blk/slvr+windw) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Coolermaster CM Storm Xornet Rich Mahogany Bookshelf speakers Standalone speaker amplifier 
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post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 
Bump? TL:DR?

Doing research, I guess it looks like the "IGP" or "APU" chips are the best bang-for-buck purchase, however:
  • They can only shine with some really fast RAM.
  • Using them in AMD's "Dual Graphics" setup isn't really worth the extra money and power consumption vs performance payoff.
  • They will never be as fast as top-notch discrete CPU + GPU card setups, because they aren't designed as enthusiast equipment. They are cost-cutting gear, and as such, will make a snappy PC that can crank out Minecraft or whatever, without blowing up, and without emptying your bank account.

Regarding the possibility of having discrete VRAM slots (GDDR) in the motherboard, I just don't see the industry changing that drastically any time soon.
-Slink
Sentry
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
C3 955BE Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe WiFi XFX GeForce 9800 GTX+ 2x2GB OCZ "Reaper 2" DDR2-1150 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
250G B'cuda, 1T Samsung Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7170S black Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus Windows 7 Ultimate x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Asus LCD 1680*1050 Microsoft Natural 4000 Antec Truepower 2.0 480w blue Coolermaster Centurion 5 (blk/slvr+windw) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Coolermaster CM Storm Xornet Rich Mahogany Bookshelf speakers Standalone speaker amplifier 
  hide details  
Reply
Sentry
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
C3 955BE Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe WiFi XFX GeForce 9800 GTX+ 2x2GB OCZ "Reaper 2" DDR2-1150 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
250G B'cuda, 1T Samsung Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7170S black Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus Windows 7 Ultimate x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Asus LCD 1680*1050 Microsoft Natural 4000 Antec Truepower 2.0 480w blue Coolermaster Centurion 5 (blk/slvr+windw) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Coolermaster CM Storm Xornet Rich Mahogany Bookshelf speakers Standalone speaker amplifier 
  hide details  
Reply
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