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GDDR3 vs GDDR5 will I tell a difference

fatenabu1fatenabu1 Member Posts: 381

Hello,

My question is will I be able to tell a big difference between the two video card ram types. I mostly play DCUO and DDO. I have a desktop I use to play games at max settings just fine but I will be getting a laptop soon and the 1GB GDDR3 graphics memory laptops are cheaper than the GDDR5 graphics memory laptops. My question is the GDDR5 worth the money? I do currently have GDDR5 in my desktop.. Geforce GTS450.. Anyways any advice.

 

Thanks,

 

Dustin

Comments

  • PhryPhry Member LegendaryPosts: 11,004

    the 450 gts version is the bargain basement card.. but.... never a good idea to base how good a Video card is by how much Ram it has.. or what type..   its not a card i would consider buying myself... as its the one you buy if you can't get a decent one.. imo .. you'd be better off getting the 460 gtx..  depending on what your upgrading from. it might not be much of an upgrade. the 450 gts is cheap.. and .. you get what you pay for tbh.image

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 23,226

    The type of memory doesn't matter for its own sake, but the memory bandwidth does.  Memory bandwidth is one of the factors that feeds into graphical performance.  The main high-level difference between GDDR5 and DDR3 is that GDDR5 is quad data rate, while DDR3 is double data rate, so at a given clock speed, GDDR5 will have twice the bandwidth of DDR3.

    In principle, one could get the same memory bandwidth with DDR3 memory by doubling the memory bus width, but that's a lot more expensive than using GDDR5 memory.  At this point, GDDR5 is pretty ubiquitous among gaming cards, so a new video card that doesn't feature GDDR5 memory probably isn't meant for gaming at all.

    The only significant exception is for applications that are severely power-constrained, where DDR3 memory may be chosen because GDDR5 memory uses too much power.  In a desktop, this basically means a DDR3 version of a Radeon HD 5570 or Radeon HD 6570.

    If that's your desired level of performance, however, then you should wait for Llano and use the integrated graphics in that, as it will offer performance in the same ballpark as the best modern DDR3-based cards.  Llano will release on June 14.

    I guess there's also an exception for some older cards that launched before GDDR5 memory became the norm.  That basically means G92b and GT200b-based cards, but those only make sense to buy new in a desktop, and even then, only if you find them at a clearance price and are willing to give up modern features such as DirectX 11.

  • bezadobezado Member UncommonPosts: 1,127

    Originally posted by Phry

    the 450 gts version is the bargain basement card.. but.... never a good idea to base how good a Video card is by how much Ram it has.. or what type..   its not a card i would consider buying myself... as its the one you buy if you can't get a decent one.. imo .. you'd be better off getting the 460 gtx..  depending on what your upgrading from. it might not be much of an upgrade. the 450 gts is cheap.. and .. you get what you pay for tbh.image

    Actually the type of memory does matter, the size of the memory would determine how large of a resolution you could aim for. 1GB or higher you can push to higher resolutions with better performance.

    The type matters because GDDR3 is about 2x slower in bandwidth then GDDR5 and the newer generations of cards require faster memory bandwidths. If you want a great high resolution and good FPS you want the GDDR5, but you also need to compare bit rate if anything, GDDR5 with 256bit rate is effectively similar to 512bit GDDR3 in bus speeds. See how much more the GDDR3 needs to come close to GDDR5 in bandwidth performance.

    I would get the GDDR5 version of the card your looking at but making sure the bus bit rate is essentially comparable in size.

  • fatenabu1fatenabu1 Member Posts: 381

    Hello,

    Thanks I will attempt to get a reasonbly priced laptop with the GDDR5.

     

    Dustin

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 23,226

    It's not just the type of memory that matters.  There are a lot of things that go into performance, such as the number of shaders, the number of TMUs, the number of ROPs, the clock speed, various archtiecture things, and so forth.  A Radeon HD 6450 comes with GDDR5 memory, but it's hardly a gaming card.

  • CleffyCleffy Member RarePosts: 6,345

    Screen Buffer size matters more then the actual amount of memory when it comes to screen resolution size.  This is what makes several early versions of AMD cards using GDDR5 poor designs.  Due to lack of a large frame buffer they suffered with post-processing effects.

  • RabiatorRabiator Member Posts: 358

    Quizzzical and bezado both have good points. I'd like to add some details, in particular for "lower midrange" cards, as I have been researching those for a bit  (I 'm looking for an upgrade myself, on the desktop though).

    1) As Quizzical hinted at, GDDR3 is practically extinct at the high end (cards with 256 bit memory bus). For midrange cards like the Geforce 440 or the Radeon HD 6670 (typically 128 bits), you find either, but in benchmarks the GDDR 5 versions tend to win by 20-30% difference. The price difference is usually smaller.

    2) GDDR5 does eat a bit more power than GDDR3. But again, the difference seems to be smaller than the performance difference. Example: Radeon HD 6670 (desktop) with GDDR3 => Thermal Design Power 60W.  Radeon HD 6670 with GDDR5 => Thermal Design Power 66W.  Since you are looking at laptops, it might be worth checking though.

    3) I think bezado is right about having at least 1 GByte video memory. But most cards with a 128 bit memory bus also have 1 or 2 GByte RAM these days (there are still some 512 MByte versions out, so double-check this). Avoid those with only a 64bit memory bus, those are seriously underpowered.

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