1. Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

256mb vs 512 mb

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards' started by Gam'ster, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. niko084


    Dec 5, 2006
    7,696 (1.94/day)
    Thanks Received:
    Ya but no.... :slap:

    Anyways, 512mb are definitely worth it, I'm kinda depressed my 3850 is only 256mb, its not a "HUGE" difference, but now a days its plenty well worth it with a mid line card.
    10 Year Member at TPU
  2. Graogrim New Member

    Jan 1, 2008
    308 (0.09/day)
    Thanks Received:
    East Coast US
    Well of course 512 is better than 256. Duh. The real question is "is 512 more cost effective than 256?"

    That answer varies a bit.

    For the 8800 series regardless of price segment it appears that the answer is 512, regardless. For whatever reason (I presume it's due to poor texture management or some kind of artificial granularity requirement), in comparisons with other designs the 8800's architecture suffers disproportionately even at mainstream resolutions when confined to 256 MB. Doubtless it's why so many 256 vs. 512 comparisons focus on the 8800: it's their poster child.

    For other series, it varies. In the sub-$200 segment the price premium of 512MB is particularly significant. Prior to ATI's recent price cuts, 256 was a very sensible choice for the 3850, because graduating to 512 carried a 25% price premium at relatively small benefit for mainstream resolutions and quality settings. The current pricing landscape is a bit jumbled, with 512MB 3870's available for less than some 512 MB 3850's. Now for the 38x0's it doesn't make much sense to stick to 256 when twenty bucks can fetch both double the memory and a faster GPU in the 3870. In fact, unless its price drops commensurate to the 3870's discount, the 3850 just doesn't make sense at all anymore. I predict either cut-rate pricing or a quick orphanage of the part. Or both.

    In the value segment, I'm inclined to say that 512MB is a waste. When the GPU lacks the basic shading and rasterization power to competently play the latest and greatest to begin with, paying extra for 512 MB seems like ordering a tricycle with extra trunk space. Save your money and get a better card all-around.

    Pricing isn't yet stable on Nvidia's newest offerings, but given their recent history with the 8800's poor memory management I wouldn't take it on faith that a minimum memory configuration won't hamstring performance. Also, the predicted price range is thin, with not a lot of cost separating the 512 MB configuration from its discounted counterpart. So the verdict is not 100% sure yet, but 512 seems highly likely to be the better choice.

    Overall, the answer is 512--most of the time.
    Gam'ster says thanks.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guest)