1GB VRAM or 2?

So, quick silly question. I’m looking into getting a new iMac (No, that’s not up for debate :ba: ) and one option is to upgrade the video card from 1GB of dedicated video ram to 2. General consensus online is that gaming and video would see little to no difference with more video RAM (as the rest bottlenecks long before), while 3d work might benefit from it. Naturally, I plan on using blender on this.

Is this a worthwhile upgrade? All other things being equal (For reference, 3.4Ghz 4-core i7, 16GB Ram, Radeon HD 6970M), where exactly would more dedicated VRAM improve performance? Bigger textures? SmallLuxGPU rendering? Sculpting/panting? Quicker sims? Or would the rest of the system be a bottleneck long before the video is?

I appreciate any thoughts on this.


With the pure power of your computer already, I think that the VRAM would be the first bottleneck (that is of course…apart from operating system :wink: ).
You have to think about the future too. Soon I have no doubt that 2GB will be average, so getting it now and not being neccesarily BEHIND on anthing may be advantagious.

Also, prices…what is the difference in price for the upgrade? If it is ridiculously expensive then there wouldn’t be any worth to it. If it was reletively cheap then why not? Can’t hurt, and remember that bottlenecks occur at different parts of the system during different activities. During gaming the clock speeds make a heavy difference in performance, while in 3D work RAM is the issue.

is a good question about cycles, cycles uses the gpu memory?

For a brand new system, it’s about $100, but if it’s $100 that does nothing, why bother? The real catch is that buying refurbished is a great way to save a few hundred bucks, but the configurations are limited to what’s available, which may not include the 2GB video upgrade. In that case, the difference between buying a new system with 2GB, and a refurb system without could be up to $400.

F6r $100 it is completely worth it.

For the higher level of detail of texture maps, bump maps, normal maps and the amount of detail you could then put into sculpting (afterall, a lot of slowdown in view is not due to clock speeds, just the VRAM.) your work would take great advantage from it.

A good way to save a few hundred bucks is to build it yourself and put OSX on it later if you feel the need.

Sorry, it kills me on the inside to see people pay the Apple premium and not even really be able to choose their parts. Especially for a computer you want to use for 3D, the thermal problems of the iMac alone would turn me away.

How about…

(No, that’s not up for debate :ba:)

Oh, shoot. :rolleyes:

Anyway, i doubt it will make much of a difference. It may boost cycles performance, but cycles is at such an early stage that you can’t really tell if it’s worth it or not.

I’ve never regretted going higher end on hardware, but I’ve always regretted going lower end. In a couple of months you won’t miss that $100, but sooner or later you’ll wish you had that 2 Gig card.

I’m a big time apple fan boy but I have to agree that their prices are starting to get quite unrealistic. I’ve gotten into trouble on forums for talking about hackintoshes before but I think everyone here is open minded enough to accept an opinion.

I built a hackintosh around 6 months ago and it’s performing flawlessly! I paid around £500 for an i5 760 with 8gig ram and a 1.5GB nvidia card. I purchased os x in there too. It was a bit of an experiment but it’s been a massive success and I couldn’t be more satisfied with it.

Exactly! The fact that a Hackintosh is some kind of taboo subject is just a testament to the blind faith some people have for branding these days. Anyone who thinks fewer choices is better is deluding themselves. OSX sales would skyrocket if Apple opened up the gates to “legit” 3rd party system installation. Of course, then they’d stop making money hand over fist by overcharging on the hardware, but I think that it’s telling of a company to restrict something like that. The options are limited for the reasons, either they don’t think we’re smart enough to build an OSX system ourselves, or they’d rather make money off of the less informed than provide a solid user experience, both of which are insulting to me as a consumer.

You will need a Nvidia GPU currently for cycles? The posted configuration will only use the CPU for Cycles. Vram will make no difference in this case. Eularily speaking, hackintoshes are a no-no if not Apple branded. If you buy OSX (at a reasonable price I might add), it comes with two Apple stickers. If you slap one of these on the side of your PC, does this an apple-branded computer make?

Nope, but why pay extra for branding?

For me it’s not the branding, but reliability.

In my personal experience, my Apple systems have been significantly more reliable than the Windows workstations I use on the job. There have been a number of times where I’ve brought work home or my computer into the office, to solve a problem we’ve had on otherwise more powerful workstations. Sure I can build a faster computer for the same price. I can build a cheaper computer for the same speed. But my time is valuable, and a 20% speed gain is completely useless when you lose an hour of work to a bug, or a render fails at the 98% mark.

A Hackintosh can give me the OS elegance and compatability, sure, but there is no way I can guarantee what the reliability is going to be like until I actually do it. There’s also all the time that goes into researching the parts, comparison shopping and researching the methods for getting the OS to work properly, something that can be undone at every patch, while one of the niceties of my Mac experience has been the painless upgrades.

My last two Apple purchases have been 5-year investments. I expect this to be the same. The last two were a Cube and a 1st gen Intel iMac, so no, I’m not worried about overheating. :wink:

Simply put, you are completely right that you can get better benchmarks for the buck with a hackintosh. I wish you the best, and I hope that Apple releases a version of the OS for the homebrew market. My personal experience, however, has been that the Apple Premium over that length of time pays for itself in both the tangible savings of time from that reliability, and in the intangibility of a stress-free experience.