Palit NVIDIA GTX460 in Surround: 1GB vs. 2GB - Conclusions

Submitted by skipclarke on 26 September, 2010 - 03:16

Article Type: 

General Discussions

Of the eleven games tested here, six of them performed acceptably on a 1GB GTX460 SLI Surround setup. If more cautious about settings utilised, a further two would become playable (DiRT 2 needs Post Processing disabled on 1GB cards and Aliens vs. Predator needs DX11 features disabled) without anti-aliasing.

If, on the other hand, you wish to be able to run with at least a low level of anti-aliasing, or be less picky about exactly what detail settings you enable, the 2GB cards allow a far more consistent experience across the board. There are really only two games that are out of reach in terms of playability on maximum settings in Surround with a 2GB GTX460 SLI setup… those are S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Clear Sky and Crysis. While perhaps it is unfair to immediately write these two games off, it is widely acknowledged that Crysis still has yet to meet a graphics card which can handle it with no sweat whatsoever, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R is also notorious for being something of a system killer at higher detail settings. Two games (Half-Life 2 and Devil May Cry 4) have no problems in Surround at any resolution or anti-aliasing level you care to throw at them, while three of the others (Aliens vs. Predator, DiRT 2 and Just Cause 2) need some careful analysis of what settings are going to be enabled or disabled to have them fully playable in Surround on what has demonstrated itself to be a fantastic mainstream card.

Those who have examined the VRAM usage graphs in particular I hope will note that in many cases (Crysis being the notable exception) that the increased VRAM offered by 2GB cards can make all the difference between something being playable and it not.

I hope that it is also evident that Surround resolutions (and any ultra-high-resolution scenario such as TripleHead2Go or Eyefinity) that VRAM availability is extremely important. While obviously VRAM alone will not make an underpowered GPU capable of pushing frames with the top-end cards, for Surround a good mainstream backed by a larger than normal quantity of VRAM appears to be a winning combination.

Future Work

At this present time, I have other commitments which must be met, but pending sufficient time in the future I would very much like to carry out the following extensions to this investigation:

Observation of ‘best playable settings (with a defined minimum framerate) for each game tested here. Lower resolution testing (not done as currently selecting non-native Surround res on my system results in it going straight back to 5760x1200 on the desktop…)

Crysis – lower detail settings, anti-aliasing. S.T.A.L.K.E.R – lower detail settings. Just Cause 2 – lower detail settings. Aliens vs. Predator – lower detail settings. Use of FakeFactory’s Cinematic Mod 10 for Half-Life 2 testing.


For those on a budget, or not wishing to worry about the power draw or heat output of a full-fat GF100 SLI setup, but still wanting to enter Surround gaming, the 2GB GTX460 presents an unrivalled opportunity to do so. Given the little extra cost of a 2GB card over a 1GB card, there is no reason now they are available to go with 1GB cards and risk a ‘settings lottery’ of whether a particular detail setting will push the game into single-fps territory.

Obviously, for those running single screen systems, a 2GB card is just overkill. But as already said, for those wanting Surround on a “budget”… a pair of 2GB GTX460’s for three cheap 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 screens can’t go wrong.