As much as modern graphics cards have progressed over the last year or two, the onboard GDDR of many of these new cards remains relatively constant. It seems that 512MB has been deemed the “sweet spot” for anything but extreme resolutions, and horsepower in the GPU has frequently been given priority during new product development. Nvidia’s recent G92 and G94 GPUs are a perfect example of this. The G80 was a radical departure from traditional GPU design with its unified shaders and other architectural enhancements.
Not only did Nvidia raise the bar with the G80, they coupled additional GDDR3 to match with the 640MB GTS and the 768MB GTX. Although they were very powerful when they first hit the streets, the revised G92 with a more efficient GPU was able to outperform them by a fairly large margin and used only 512MB of GDDR3. AMD/ATI has been a bit more conservative with their GDDR with most top models offering 512MB for the last few years. For the last two product generations, AMD has been quick to offer newer types of GDDR, like GDDR4 with the 3870 and GDDR5 with the new 4870, as opposed to greater capacities.
Just because the reference design of these cards call for a standard 512MB of onboard GDDR capacity does not mean that manufacturers have to abide. One such manufacturer, Palit, thinks that more is better and offers several card revisions with a full 1GB of onboard memory. There is so little distinguishing graphics cards these days, so it is always refreshing to see options like this.
Palit GeForce 9600GT 1GB Sonic
Palit Radeon HD3850 Super+1GB
3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 2006
HL2: Episode Two, Prey, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition DX9/DX10
Crysis DX9/DX10, World in Conflict DX9/DX10
Overclocking, Power, & Conclusion