To be completely honest, we didn't really know what to expect performance wise going into this article. While the 640MB graphics card did perform better in a single card showdown, when you move to SLI mode and give the 320MB an extra 320MB via the second card, are we going to be maxing out the amount of memory we really need? Surely hitting in excess of 1200MB of onboard memory would just be useless?
Actually, it doesn't seem that way. We can pretty much see across the board that the 640MB cards in SLI continue to give us a performance increase when compared to the 320MB versions. Money permitting we would always suggest that you make the move to the 640MB card if you're running resolutions in excess of 1600 x 1200, closer to 1920 x 1200 and above.
If you're serious about gaming, the chances are the 640MB cards are what you want, but if you're hardcore to the extreme, the chances are you're going to be looking down the barrel of a pair of uber high-end 8800GTX cards. The 640MB cards in SLI mode are perfect for users of 1920 x 1200 and want to crank up the AA and AF and other high quality image settings. On the other hand, the 320MB cards in SLI mode are better for 1600 x 1200 users who want to crank up the AA and AF. In a single card situation the cards work similar except without AA and AF, for example - the 640MB is better suited for a 1920 x 1200 gamer who doesn't want AA or AF enabled with other fancy settings and the 320MB for 1600 x 1200 and below users with normal image quality.
It is all very interesting though considering you have graphics cards with the same chip, exactly the same core and memory speeds with the only difference being the amount of onboard memory but of course about a 33% price difference. It's clear a difference can be seen at these higher levels even when SLI comes into the picture.
Consumers listen up...the problem though is that people may well read this and then go out and buy the 512MB Radeon X1300 instead of the 256MB Radeon X1600 (for example) because the first model has more onboard memory. Yes, more memory does make a difference BUT... and this is a big BUT, you'll only see a difference when the right amount of power (clock speeds) is behind it. As most low-end graphics cards don't have any real advantage with the extra memory, think about this and listen to us and not the sales person who thinks they know everything.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Benchmarks - Test System Setup and 3DMark05]
- Page 3 [Benchmarks - 3DMark06]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Lost Coast)]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - PREY]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - F.E.A.R.]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - Company of Heroes]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]
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