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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > 64 or 128MB VRAM

64 or 128MB VRAM
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Zigmanx001
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May 31, 2004, 08:55 PM
 
I'm not a gamer at all, but I was curious if adding an additional 64MB of VRAM to my apple store order would speed up video editing, after effecting, etc... Will quartz extreme be sped up by an additional 64MB?

Thanks!

-Al
     
Eug Wanker
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May 31, 2004, 09:07 PM
 
Originally posted by Zigmanx001:
I'm not a gamer at all, but I was curious if adding an additional 64MB of VRAM to my apple store order would speed up video editing, after effecting, etc... Will quartz extreme be sped up by an additional 64MB?
In terms of video editing, it might help for Motion.

the demo machine was a 17: 1.5Ghz powerbook G4 1Gb ram and the 128Mb video card option. The comp they used was SD res, but everything we saw was realtime. There were some stutters when opening certain windows or subwindows, but the comp never stopped playing once, unless he told it to. The performance issues are : system RAM -> # of video streams for playback. card speed/ram -> # of effects and speed of playback.

BTW, cool video on Motion here.
     
James L
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Jun 1, 2004, 12:40 AM
 
Get the 128MB VRAM... it is cheap and you can't upgrade it later.

Now, having said that, most video editing has almost nothing to do with the VRAM.. it is all about CPU speed, RAM, and HD speed.

Which also means upgrade to the 5400 rpm harddrive!

Cheers!
     
Will McGoonigle
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Jun 1, 2004, 01:02 AM
 
Originally posted by James L:
Get the 128MB VRAM... it is cheap and you can't upgrade it later.

Now, having said that, most video editing has almost nothing to do with the VRAM.. it is all about CPU speed, RAM, and HD speed.

Which also means upgrade to the 5400 rpm harddrive!

Cheers!
I recall some recent benchmarks which showed Final Cut performing better with VRAM. You realize as QE is using Open GL that video texturing is, or should be, used and that takes up VRAM as video frames are allocated there?
     
James L
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Jun 1, 2004, 07:49 PM
 
Yup, but I don't see 64 to 128 making a big difference in real world experiences, the biggest factor with FCP is still the CPU imho.

If you find a link to the benchmarks I would be interested, however.

Cheers!
     
meatyocre
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Jun 1, 2004, 09:25 PM
 
It is a "cheap" upgrade, which will significantly help resell value down the road.
     
Pierre B.
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Jun 2, 2004, 03:07 AM
 
Originally posted by Zigmanx001:
I'm not a gamer at all, but I was curious if adding an additional 64MB of VRAM to my apple store order would speed up video editing, after effecting, etc... Will quartz extreme be sped up by an additional 64MB?

Thanks!

-Al
First, I find the upgrade cheap enough to not do it. Second, Quartz Extreme won't be sped up in the strict sense, but I expect it will remain responsive under heavier load.
     
magness
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Jun 4, 2004, 12:36 AM
 
What if you're somewhat of a gamer who's like to play the odd game on the mac. Howmuch of a diffrence would it make. I'm trying to justify a wait of 2 weeks for a BTO. Has there been a measured speed diffrence between the 64 and 128? If it's maybe 4-6 frames less then I'm probably not going to worry.
     
NightEyes
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Jun 4, 2004, 12:56 AM
 
according to BareFeats, www.barefeats.com, it only makes a difference if you are playing at extreme settings, which according to their tests are in the 1600x1200 range and even then the difference is about 7 fps. Check out the site for full details. Quartz Extreme doesn't benefit at all from the extra VRAM.

Bottom line, if you don't want to wait or spend the extra cash, don't worry about it and buy the stock config now.
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Will McGoonigle
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Jun 4, 2004, 01:03 AM
 
Originally posted by NightEyes:
according to BareFeats, www.barefeats.com, it only makes a difference if you are playing at extreme settings, which according to their tests are in the 1600x1200 range and even then the difference is about 7 fps. Check out the site for full details. Quartz Extreme doesn't benefit at all from the extra VRAM.

Bottom line, if you don't want to wait or spend the extra cash, don't worry about it and buy the stock config now.
QE does benefit with high resolutions or dual displays. QE slows down quite a bit in a dual monitor set up and that will prob be worse with Tiger.

Games don't show as much improvement on OSX as Windows because we probably have underclocked graphics cards and no 8X AGP.
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arekkusu
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Jun 4, 2004, 02:16 AM
 
QE will benefit with one display at any resolution. QE will use as much VRAM as you can give it.

Want to make QE use lots of texture memory?
1) Launch TextEdit
2) File>New
3) repeat step 2 a hundred times

Result: each window you create takes about 900k (at the default size of 475x472, 32bpp on my machine). If you make 100 windows, that's approaching 100 megs of VRAM QE will want.

Yes, the window manager will compress the backing store and page it out of VRAM and do other tricks, but the bottom line is, every window you have on the screen needs memory to be composited. More VRAM = better.
     
sfederman
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Jun 4, 2004, 02:22 AM
 
Another thing to weigh in on your decision... I ordered a 15'' Powerbook with the 5400 RPM HD & 128 MB VRAM on Tuesday, and at the latest, I'll get it on Monday (with 1-2 day shipping). So, it would only be a 1 week wait for it.

I decided that it was worthwhile getting both, for only $90 (educational discount) total, but whatever you choose, it will be a great computer!
     
TheDrew
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Jun 4, 2004, 04:11 AM
 
128mb of vram is really only a necessity for gaming, being that you are buying a pb I highly doubt that you are primarily a gamer.


Video ram is really only paged when rendering 3D textures. There is really no possible way to eat up all of your video ram in a casual desktop environment.


IMO, its not really worth the extra cash, your money would be better spent w/ system ram.
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jonasmac
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Jun 4, 2004, 10:25 AM
 
well, isn't it only $50? it's worth it. just give up the mocha frappelatte for a week.
     
RooneyX
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Jun 4, 2004, 12:56 PM
 
Originally posted by TheDrew:



Video ram is really only paged when rendering 3D textures. There is really no possible way to eat up all of your video ram in a casual desktop environment.
You're still using Windows 3.1.
     
NightEyes
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Jun 4, 2004, 01:24 PM
 
Quartz Extreme doesn't benefit from extra VRAM. Here is what the tests have to show, from Barefeats:

"WHAT ABOUT QUARTZ EXTREME? Some of my programmer friends theorized that the extra video memory should speed up Quartz Extreme functions. I disagreed. I argued that graphics processor speed is the key, not graphics memory size, since Apple's documentation states you only need 16MB of video memory for Quartz Extreme functions.

I saw an interesting graph on Apple's Quartz Extreme Page from a benchmark called "Window Move." I was able to get a copy of a similar application that creates hundreds of buffered, semi-transparent windows in various sizes, shapes, and locations. Check out the results:

As you can see above, the times were the same even when both the PowerBook built-in display and the external Cinema display were active."
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RooneyX
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Jun 4, 2004, 02:31 PM
 
Originally posted by NightEyes:
Quartz Extreme doesn't benefit from extra VRAM. Here is what the tests have to show, from Barefeats:
I ran a dual monitor set up with Powerbook 17 and Cinema Display. The slow down was obvious....obvious...compared to when I just ran my laptop's LCD. Anand from anandtech himself saw the slowdown and installed a 256MB card and saw an increase in responsiveness....that guy opens tons of windows.

Anyone who says VRAM is not needed should go back to their 16mb graphic cards and stop misinforming others. QE windows take up VRAM, more windows more VRAM. Future OS releases will only be more GPU and VRAM hungry. Play safe, get the VRAM. We don't live in the days of Bill Gates and "I don't think we'll ever need more than 640k ram".
     
Peter
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Jun 4, 2004, 03:16 PM
 
Originally posted by meatyocre:
It is a "cheap" upgrade, which will significantly help resell value down the road.
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