POST A COMMENT

70 Comments

Back to Article

  • Rawz - Thursday, May 19, 2005 - link

    One game that could benefit from a 512 MB VRAM board is Everquest II. Currently, it is stated that no system setup avail. today can run the game, playble, with all its settings at maximum.
    I know mine can't(P4 2.8HT, 1GB PC3200 2.5 Corsair, Abit AI7 and MSI Radeon 9800Pro 128 - R360). No OC there.
    Could you set a test with that game? (There is a free trial for it, as it is a MMORPG )
    Reply
  • melgross - Sunday, May 08, 2005 - link

    Son of a N00b, none of these game cards work well as workstation cards.

    The $500 workstation cards from both ATI and Nvidia are two to three times fast with most operations than the equiv. price game cards.

    But they are much slower playing games.
    Reply
  • Murst - Sunday, May 08, 2005 - link

    Reading these posts was kinda funny.

    First of all, ATI wouldn't market a card just to test it. If ATI wants to test something, they can either evaluate it on a theoretical basis, or just develop several cards for their own use.

    There is a possibility that longhorn could take advantage of 512 MBs of vram. Especially with dual core processors coming out, multi tasking *may* compeletely change. Get 2 monitors, play two games on the same computer at the same time. Of course, GPUs will still need to advance more before playing 2 graphically intense games is possible on the same computer with a single graphics card (dual gpu maybe? =p ). Well, with that said, although longhorn may need 512 MBs, this card will certainly not be able to handle it.

    However, I bet this card will sell great. When some kid's mom will go to a store to buy the brat a brand new graphics card, she doesn't know what to pick. 9800, 6800, 5900, 6600, X800... that means absolutly nothing to MOST buyers. However, they see on the box that one card has 256MBs and another card has 512MBs. I'm sure most people will assume that more memory is better performance (hell, generally that is the case). So they'll buy this card, because that is the ONLY thing on a graphics card box that the general public can understand. Its a great tactic by ATI, and it will make them money. Its all about the labels on the box. 99.99% of the population has never seen or heard of benchmarks.
    Reply
  • Son of a N00b - Saturday, May 07, 2005 - link

    which there is, so there will be plenty of ppl that buy this card. Reply
  • xsilver - Friday, May 06, 2005 - link

    if there are people that buy the 9550 256mb and fx5500 256mb over a 9800pro/6600gt 128mb there will be people that buy this card Reply
  • Myrandex - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    This makes sense from a manufacturing and business aspect. X800XLs are cheaper and easier to produce than X850XT's, and of course someone will buy the card. I don't know why y'all don't get on nvidia's case more for the FX5200 having 256MB in some cases (and derivatives of it, like the 5500). That is wayyyy more rediculous than 512MB on an X800XL. Heck about the only thing 3D that the 5200 card is made for running an OpenGL screensaver :P Reply
  • Peanya - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    I do see a reason for this card, although I'd have to test it. I believe it's designed for specific games such as some popular on-line games like SWG and EQ. For the average gamer, this won't benefit at all. Oh well, I'm still happy with my 6800GT and my AMD64. I've never been a fan of ATI's drivers. Reply
  • PrinceXizor - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    Also, oodles of VRAM is useful for multi-monitor use. Some testing scenarios that involve that would be much appreciated too.

    Workstation performance (Alibre Design is a MCAD package that is DirectX based not OpenGL optimized), multi-monitor support, multi-tasking video operations, Longhorn.

    Mostly though, I would like to see some multi-monitor and gaming benchmarks as these are the most likely to see performance gains. Just my $.02

    P-X
    Reply
  • Son of a N00b - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    any benchmarks of these cards from a workstation standpoint? If ati was that dull enough to release a 512 X800 why not accidently release a card that can preform okay in workstation progs, without the hefty price of a worksation card? Hmm (especially with the nvidia cards, isnt the 6800ultra 512 the same as a quadro on the hardware end?) a soft mod BIOS flash could prove to be interesting?

    what do you think Anand?
    Reply
  • civilgeek - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    This review tested games that are explicitly made for this round of 256 meg cards. Try games that our made for future cards... like several of the MMOs. For example EQII would be a prime example as I have not heard of a single machine being able to run the game on extreme settings with reasonable frame rates, even with 2 6800 gt cards in SLI. You need textures that are beyond todays round of games. Reply
  • civilgeek - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    Reply
  • aliasfox - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    Actually, g33k, because nVidia's gotten lazy on the driver side of things, the X800XT is just as fast as the 6800 Ultra DDL in most instances, if not a little faster.

    I'd love to see nVidia put as much effort into its Mac OpenGL drivers as it does in its Windows OpenGL drivers... or, conversely, ATi should work as hard on its Windows OpenGL drivers as it does on the Mac.
    Reply
  • nserra - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    512MB card is pointless I agree, but about the DOOM3 ULTRA mode require 512Mb of GPU memory, well maybe it’s correct. Only if you have an nvidia card!

    Ati cards use much less GPU memory for the textures and for AA and AF modes.

    See "past" bench’s of nvidia 5x00 256MB vs ATI 9x00 256MB, while there was some performance decrease on the nvidia cards on games (max details settings) when going from 256MB to 128MB with the Ati there was no difference.

    (Or performance increase if you do the opposite calculations [128 to 256])
    Reply
  • ET - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    BTW, I agree that most evidence seems to point to ExtremeTech having made some mistake, but I love to verify things. Reply
  • ET - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    Yes, Anand, if you could do a 2GB test in both High and Ultra modes, I'd love to see it. Thanks! Reply
  • geekfool - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    Of course if this article benchmarked something that actually needed this memory, say Celestia (http://shatters.net/celestia/) /w a 64k texture set of Earth, the 512m of ram might have made a difference. Reply
  • flatblastard - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    And I'll get more use out of mine over a longer period of time. Ahhhh, I feel better now... Reply
  • g33k - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    "1) ATI is better at OpenGL than Nvidia"

    I know its been posted before, but you have this statement completely @ss backwards. Nvidia EXCELS at OPENGL. ATI tends to do better at DirectX games.

    So if you follow your logic about the Apple platform(which admittedly I know nothing about), the 6800 Ultra would be the best card for the Mac.
    Reply
  • flatblastard - Thursday, May 05, 2005 - link

    Now at least when someone tries to make me feel bad for "wasting" my money on an x850xt pe, I will have someone else to point the finger at.
    Yes, I'm talking to you, whoever read this review and still plans on buying one of these 512MB cards! lol...

    You know, I just realized.....with this new x800xl 512mb in the line-up, my x850xt pe starts to look like it was a good decision on my part.....I don't feel so cheated anymore. ;)
    Reply
  • Ged - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    "However, I disagree with your second post. If it were that simple, why do rendered games need so much RAM? I am pretty sure there are other things stored in video RAM when rendering the OS in 3D including textures. I think the days of the VRAM being used as JUST a frame buffer in the OS are numbered."

    It's true that you won't just need to store 'what the screen looks like' in VRAM; however, I cannot see how a clean desktop, which OSX is supposed to have, takes up 256MB or 512MB of VRAM.

    Another way to look at the 20 frames at 2560x1600x24bbp is that you could store that many textures at that resolution as well. That should be overkill for a desktop (consider that all the windows are textured they'd probably use the same texture and other objects on the desktop would probably also use the same textures).

    Take the best most complex 3D game with many textures on possibly hundreds of objects right now: They don't require over 256MB of VRAM and Apple's sleek, efficient Desktop will?

    Plus, with NVIDIA and ATI both using System Memory via PCIe, you don't need as much VRAM for a 2D/3D desktop because the cards could use System RAM (assuming Apple goes to PCIe at some point).

    "Graphics Cards for Apple OSX needing 256MB+ or 512MB of VRAM to display the OS well."

    I guess I will sum it all up by saying: "I'll believe it when I see it" :)
    Reply
  • aliasfox - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    The x800xl is not the best card on the Mac side... the 6800 Ultra DDL and x800XT have been available for some time, both with DDL support for the 30" display.

    Of course, I'm just waiting for someone to hook a massive SLI system up to a 30" and actually *play* a modern game at 2560x1600... that would surely be a sight to see...
    Reply
  • Cuser - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    GED: I gree with you on the OpenGL thing. I thought nvidia was in the lead with OpenGL support. My old ATI would not play in OpenGL at all!

    However, I disagree with your second post. If it were that simple, why do rendered games need so much RAM? I am pretty sure there are other things stored in video RAM when rendering the OS in 3D including textures. I think the days of the VRAM being used as JUST a frame buffer in the OS are numbered.
    Reply
  • Ged - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    "2) On a MACINTOSH with Tiger, extra VRAM is a very good thing for the future, considering how the Quartz 2D Extreme will work (utilizing the GPU for OS rendering, caching it in VRAM)"

    You shouldn't need close to 512MB of VRAM for displaying OSX's 'Quartz 2D Extreme'.

    Consider that Apple's largest display is 2560x1600 pixels (4096000 pixels total) x 24 bpp (I'm assuming 24bpp) = 98,304,000 bits for a frame (12,288,000 bytes for a frame).

    Even if you had 20 full screen frames which you composited together for the full effect it would only take 245,760,000 bytes which is still within the 256MB on current generations of cards (using 32bpp it's still under 256MB at 19 complete frames).

    I seriously doubt that anything Quartz would do would need that much VRAM. If Quartz does need that much VRAM, I think something is really, really wrong.

    Someone please correct my math if I'm off, but something's wrong if you need 512MB to display 2D OS graphics.
    Reply
  • Ged - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    "1) ATI is better at OpenGL than Nvidia"

    Everything I have read and all the benchmarks I have seen are oposite of this claim.

    What am I missing?
    Reply
  • racolvin - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Anand:

    Two things to remember about these cards:

    1) ATI is better at OpenGL than Nvidia
    2) On a MACINTOSH with Tiger, extra VRAM is a very good thing for the future, considering how the Quartz 2D Extreme will work (utilizing the GPU for OS rendering, caching it in VRAM)

    Everything on the Mac is OpenGL, so ATI testing the waters with this part is not surprising when I think of it in the Mac-future context. The X800XL would still be the best card available for the Mac folks should it make it to that side of the fence ;)

    R
    Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Yet another pointless release from ATI, or Nvidia if it matter with their respective 512MB cards.

    BTW I saw an advertisement on a 512MB X300SE by ECS via a link from AT forums. Anyone has a 486 with 512MB yet?
    Reply
  • Cuser - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Bersl2: I sympathize with where you are coming from. However there are 2 things that you are not considering.

    First, Microsoft controls the operating system, so, it would stand to reason they control (if not have a large influence on) the ways and methods the developers, programmers, and hardware alike interact with that system(and vise versa).

    Secondly, DirectX api is developed in collaboration with the graphics industry (or at least so I am led to believe).

    I think the real reason to get upset by this is if microsoft abuses this power (do they?).

    Furthermore, I myself would like to see more titles using OpenGL, if not to promote diversity and not be dependant on only one API.

    I am not a developer, but it seems that more and more games are only using DirectX API because Microsoft pushes it (i.e...easier to get information, training, SDK's, and is advertised everywhere.)

    OpenGL is an open standard and does not seem to have that type of support. But, this is just my observation so far. Maybe someone in the industry could shed some light on this...
    Reply
  • bersl2 - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Cuser: Your assertion I agree with, if not your reasoning.

    Think about this: *Why* should Microsoft be the one controlling the API? The games they've "made" have (almost?) all been bought from somebody else. They don't make hardware either. Why is everybody being led around on a leash by the middleman?

    It's frustrating when there's very little reason (and if there is a halfway decent reason, I'd like to hear about it---and don't give me that "ease of use" crap; any competent programmer can use either API rather well) not to use OpenGL over Direct3D, other than the "Nobody ever got fired for choosing Microsoft" mentality.
    Reply
  • aliasfox - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    I'm sure Aero Glass in all it's glory will want more than 64 MB VRAM. Given that a) it's Microsoft (not known for its sleek software) and b) that it's still a year away.

    My reasoning? Mac OSX (don't shoot me). OSX's Aqua interface is also 3D in the absolute barest sense of the word, and the rendering engine uses the GPU for textures and such (my understanding, at least). Features such as Exposé on Panther (which has been out for ~18 months) are much, much happier in 64 MB RAM than in 32.

    In addition, some of Apple's new features in Tiger need a GPU with DX9 features. I have a feeling Microsoft will do the same thing with Longhorn. But perhaps no more than 128 MB VRAM, I would hope.
    Reply
  • fishbits - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    LOL, guess we'll have to wait and see what the real reasoning for designing the card was, and how good a buy it will be (and for whom and when). Anand nailed it when he said it was a raw deal for most of us as things stand now. Reply
  • Cuser - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Oh, and I enjoyed the Mildred story:) Reply
  • Cuser - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    fishbits: First of all, I am not saying that gamers should go out and buy this card. I am just giving a possible reason to why these high memory cards are even being produced today. With all of the readers asking how 'stupid can ATI be...', I am pretty sure a company that large does not produce hardware haphazardly. There has to be a good reason, and as we can see, it is neither because it offers better game performance (as it purports to), or because gamers are begging for it.

    Secondly, the bells and whistles interface (aero glass) is a new 3D interface OPTION. Which means it is not necessary to use while running the OS. There is an option to use the classic XP style interface (which will soon become obsolete). And, if history is any indication, everyone will downplay the need for the pretty interface because of how much resources it uses. Then, as the hardware supporting it becomes more standard, everyone will eventually fall into line (remember when there was such a large opposition to XP's MAC'esqe look...where is that opposition now?).

    Last, if ATI has such a terrible time with hardware delivery, these cards should be available in large quantities when the Longhorn Beta (available with all the bells and whistles) becomes available.

    Plus, if reports are correct about the Aero Glass needing alot of video memory, how whould MS be able to show off preview copies without available hardware?
    Reply
  • fishbits - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    overclockingoodness: Working on the new "Top Insider Story?" Reply
  • OrSin - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Cuser even if MS new OS needs greated memory it will not more Video memory. Its new interface is 3d in barest since of the word. Any decent even 64 MB card will run it fine. Even if MS OS did need more video memory the OS is 1 year or more away. This card will be so old news no one will care.

    if any one buys 450 video to future proof thier OS, then I anti-gravity unit to sell them for thier car, so when roads are gone and we fly through the sky.
    Reply
  • overclockingoodness - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Why do I get the feeling that Anand has fired half of his staff? Now it seems like majority of the major reviews are handled by Anand. It's not necessairly a bad thing, but it just makes me wonder that AnandTech started churning 7 reviews a week when he was in college or getting married, but now we see far less reviews and majority of them are from either Anand, Wesley or Kristopher. Where has the rest of the staff disappeared? ;) Reply
  • fishbits - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Cuser: I doubt that MS is going to release an OS in a year or so that requires a 512MB vid card to decently enjoy its UI. "Yes Mildred, the new Windows is great! You just need to open up your Dell, buy a new PCIe motherboard and swap that out, and a $400+ video card and install that too. Let's see, if you do all this yourself with the OS upgrade, we're looking at $600+ for you to still be able to get the e-mails from the kids that you always did."

    Many gamers even don't have the tip-top of the line to enjoy the many games they love (and will love in the future). We'd love to, but the cost is hard to justify. How then to convince folks to hand out this kind of money just for the new OS's UI? Ain't gonna happen. Few would do it, and MS surely isn't dumb enough to miss out on that many sales. We can chastise them about bloat and hardware reqs vs performance, but they're not THAT bad.
    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    You can actually buy the NVIDIA 512MB cards *right now*. I guess we now know why they didn't make a big deal of their launch :)

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • deathwalker - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    What a complete and utter waste of time this card is. Another effort (usless) by ATI to climb back to the top after letting Nvidia take over with there 6800 line of graphics cards...oh how I long for the days when my 9700 pro was a thing of envy. But, alas ATI shot themselves in the foot and lost customers (me included) back to nvidia when they could not answer the bell for the 10th round. Reply
  • Cuser - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    I just re-read my article and I might have seemed like I was 'blaiming' microsoft for this.
    On the contrary, I just wanted to bring to light what a large influence microsoft is on the new standards of graphics hardware. DirectX, no matter how much it was chastised before, has become the foundation to the design of video harware. Video card makers today make cards to take advantage of the directX api...nothing more, nothing less. OpenGL seems to be fading quickly in consumer games (not as much in the professional market, however).
    To this end, with the new design of the WGF, windows and application's video RAM usage may begin to rival the video games we play.
    Reply
  • Cuser - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    IMHO
    I think everyone is overlooking the real reason why this much memory will soon be necessary: microsoft.

    From the articles I have been reading about longhorn and it's new graphics API, I think the desire for card companies to push towards higher video memory is not because of any games now or in the near future, but to prepare for Longhorn's need for video RAM.
    With OS managed video RAM and allotted GPU time, videocards with less than 512mb of RAM will not be able to give you all your OS interface has to offer.

    P.S.- This is my first post, be gentle...
    Reply
  • Fricardo - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    *terrible idea* Reply
  • Fricardo - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    I knew that card was a terrible as soon as I read the title. How could ATI be so retarded? Doesn't even make sense... Reply
  • Patman2099 - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    I could be mistaken, but isnt the Default FSAA on cards now using Multi sampling or mix of multi and super sampling?

    Perhaps ATI intends to bring back pure Super Sampling?
    Reply
  • mbhame - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Anand,
    There are more sites supporting your findings than contradicting your findings (ExtremeTech) - which wouldn't be a first for ExtremeTech.
    Your final comment in Post #21 couldn't have made me any happier - I'm tired of arguing with people who think slapping tons of RAM on anything dictates tons more performance, etc.
    Could you let us know how much is local and how much is shared system RAM in the recently-announced 512MB 6200's?
    Hey, when are you going to reply to my email? :P
    Reply
  • Cygni - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    The card companies pushed 64meg cards when 32meg cards werent even close to maxed out. Then 128 when 64 was perfectly find. Then 256. Then 512. Its what they do, and the consumers have SHOWED the board makers again and again that they will pay out the nose for that extra RAM just to be "future proof", regardless of actual performance. They arent evil, but they have learned what sells. A 64meg card is JUST NOW becoming "needed" in most games.

    The two monitors i have in my house, Sony 200sx's (about 5 of em, all from around 1996 :D ) and early release 17in flatpanels (Dell and Mitsu) both are most useable at 1024x768, so i never even touch reso's higher than that in any games. Its not worth it to me. Personally, the gaganess for high reso, high AA, high AF gaming confuses me... especially at the increadible cost in both FPS and dollars to run that high. The visual difference is less noticeable than simple environ bump maps to me.
    Reply
  • fishbits - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Won't someone think of the poor starving gamers that don't have 256MB DDR3, much less an extra thus far-useless, overpriced 256MB of DDR3?

    Perhaps it could come in handy though in MOGs, where you're going back and forth through different zones and coming across the same characters multiple times, and it isn't as clearly defined as loading the next FPS level/map. "Hey, Jerx0r the Brave is still in video memory, don't have to reload him!" Of course it may not be a big hit if its already in system RAM, but with high-end systems running 1GB + 256MB, it's a decent bump up in total RAM.
    Reply
  • AlexWade - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Someone will buy it. Someone with deep pockets. If you are thinking about buying this card, can you give me some of your extra money? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    ET

    I meant that it's not related to video memory size. If it were system memory related then it would affect both cards equally, but the test is cached and I noticed no disk related slowdowns during the benchmarking. If you really want I'll run it with 2GB of memory though, just ask and I shall do :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • ET - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Thanks for the comment, Anand. Why do you say "it's not related to memory size". Do you get the same scores with 2GB of RAM? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    For those wondering, I also ran tests under Doom 3 at 1600x1200 with 4X AA (8X AF) on the High Quality setting. The performance between the two cards is as follows:

    512MB - 31.0 fps
    256MB - 31.0 fps

    This agrees with the High vs. Ultra performance numbers we saw in our first Doom 3 GPU review [http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2146...].

    There's no magic increase in performance if you back down to the High quality setting, so if you're seeing numbers contrary to what I've shown here something fishy is going on and it's not related to memory size.

    For those of you wondering why Doom 3's Ultra Quality mode doesn't require a 512MB video card, keep in mind that the test we're running here is reporting average frame rates. Doom 3's timedemo function doesn't output minimum frame rates, but through actual game play the 512MB card is a bit smoother with the Ultra quality settings enabled (only in Doom 3 however). The difference isn't huge in the scenarios we tested.

    I have no doubt that 512MB boards will make sense sometime down the road, but not paired up with this GPU.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • WT - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    #17,
    *drool* I'll one up you here and get a second 1GB 5200, run them in SLI, then I'll have 2GB of GPU bandwidth !!!
    That would kick, ermmm, no .. waitaminute ...

    MuhahahaAaAHAHAA !!!

    *sarcasm sensors malfunctioning*
    Reply
  • fishbits - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Maybe the sole purpose of the card is to get some honest benches under Doom 3 where ATI ties/beats a comparably-priced offering from Nvidia, and get as much PR out of it as possible. Sounds like there's a lot to sort out, but maybe this does happen under some tests in uncompressed mode.

    Anyway, the purpose wouldn't be to sell the particular card, as to squelch the "OMG, Nvidia pwns in Doom3!" so that those who buy a card based on one game/anecdote won't shy away from current ATI products. Fanboys for either company are a steady source of revenue, so it won't do to miss out on a new (vid chip/FPS) generation of them.

    Lot of speculation on my part, but the product is definitely befuddling otherwise.
    Reply
  • Phantronius - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Ahhh silly silly ATI, when will you learn, in Soviet Russia, GPU memory RAMS you!! Reply
  • Sunbird - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    I'm wondering when the fx 5200 with 1GB memory (64bit memory interface of course) is coming out :p Reply
  • ET - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    More data points: Beyond3D got the same results as Anandtech; DriverHeaven got an increase in speed, but only because its 256MB speed was much lower than the rest. Reply
  • ET - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    #13, don't judge the waste of money on Doom3 results. There's obviously something fishy here. Reply
  • ET - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Right, #11. Shows I should read more carefully. That's really strange. T-Break also got the same results as Anandtech. Perhaps Carmack made a mistake and the modes are mislabeled? I mean, it's not as if he could test them. :) Reply
  • bob661 - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    I'm really surprised at these 512MB results. I thought at least the Doom 3 benchmarks would be better. This is just a waste of money. Reply
  • CrystalBay - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    I think nVidia's recently launched 6200/512MB is even a more peculiar release. Reply
  • mbhame - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Guys, Extremetech said they *originally* tried Ultra but the graph is based on High Quality mode.

    ...which further confuses things here. :(
    Reply
  • Houdani - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    ATI has earned your contempt, and deservedly so. Thank you yet again for giving the hardware suits a potent dose of reality.

    Clearly the games reviewed today are optimized to run on cards with less than 256MB, thereby making the 512MB superfluous. However, the folks above point out that Carmack had other notions in mind -- something which ExtremeTech appears to corroborate. If nothing else, it bears some investigation in order to understand where the difference lies.
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Originally, Doom 3's recommendation for Ultra High quality mode was a system with a gig of RAM and a 512MB video card so all textures could fit within VRAM. At the time, a 512MB card didn't exist, and 256MB cards were still uber-high technology (Geforce 6800Ultra and Radeon X800XT-PE).

    I can't think of another game however, where 512MB of graphics RAM is needed, much as articles say "Soon we will". Heck, many people just went from 128MB to 256MB, and smart game developers are going to keep their games at a level where as many systems as possible can run them (which IMO means a Geforce 6600 with 128MB of RAM, or the equivalent). Unless you're running all your games at 1600x1200 (I'm running mostly at 1280x1024 still as I get better monitor refresh rates), I don't see 512MB as being necessary for some time, and even a 128/256MB card will handle most games at that resolution given a fast enough GPU.
    Reply
  • mbhame - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    #7: Interesting. I hadn't heard Doom III could use so much System RAM. I don't have a rig capable of touching such resolution, etc. so I couldn't verify personally.

    I'm gonna check out their article.
    Reply
  • ET - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    I don't know. I'm just looking at ExtremeTech's preview of the card, and they get 32FPS for Ultra High mode (with 4xAA and 8xAF) with the 256MB card and 49.3 with the 512MB one. This is opposed to 28.8 and 29.1 for the same at Anandtech.

    The systems the two used are a bit different, with the Anandtech system having a faster CPU but only 1GB vs. 2GB for the ExtremeTech system. It may be that in this mode Doom3 is so memory hungry that 1GB isn't enough?
    Reply
  • mbhame - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    #5: That *is* what Ultra mode does. Ultra mode *is* purely-uncompressed textures and id themselves, if not Carmack himself, claimed you'd need 512MB VRAM to run it all w/o swapping. And that is what was benched in Page 3 of the article.

    I truly hope I'm misunderstanding or overlooking something.
    Reply
  • ET - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    Re #2: yeah, wasn't Doom3 supposed to have a mode that has all textures uncompressed and requires 512MB? Reply
  • Speedo - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    I see no reason to pay extra to get 512MB. #3, I don't think there's even much improvement from 128->256MB. Reply
  • mongoosesRawesome - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    The amount of memory on a card is the most advertised and consequently the most important feature to uninformed consumers. Does 256 MB (vs. 128MB) of memory even matter in resolutions below 1600x1200?

    Just as with CPU's (clock speed), people want a single measure to judge one GPU against another.
    Reply
  • mbhame - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    May I ask why nobody is calling out Carmack on his claims of Ultra *needing* >256MB VRAM when this X800XL 512MB doesn't hardly outperform its 256MB brethren in 1600x1200 Ultra w/4xAA?!?!

    There is something else afoot - elsewise id's claims are utterly absurd!

    So which is it???
    Reply
  • erinlegault - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - link

    ATI needs to start acting like the lower cost alternative to Nvidia again. Why would you put 512MB on a 800XL and pay $150 more for no noticable benefit? At least a 512MB X850 XT PE would show more improvement, but they would probably charge $999 for it. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now