In this article you will get an overview on What is Video RAM?
VRAM means Video Random Access Memory or Video RAM . It serves as quick, temporary storage for the graphics processor on your graphics card. Just like RAM in your PC provides quick access to the important data to the CPU, VRAM does the same for your GPU. It provides it with quick access to the data that is required to carry out graphics-related processes.
GDDR SDRAM is the most popular type of VRAM right now. It is different from DDR SDRAM in several ways. It is primarily intended for graphics processing.
GDDR6 is currently used in the most recent mainstream GPUs. Although some use HBM memory, it is mostly reserved for high-end workstation GPUs. It is expensive to manufacture and does not currently offer many gaming benefits.
The VRAM is built into your graphics card. It is much faster for your GPU to access the data it holds. In a GPU it takes more time to access the same data from your system’s memory or the SSD/HDD in your computer.
Before the GPU can process a single frame or scene, it stores the textures, models, geometries, and lighting maps that the graphics processor will use to render that frame.
When the rendering is finished, the graphics card saves the result in VRAM as a frame buffer. This is then sent to a video display to display the final image on your monitor.
VRAM is a type of RAM that is designed specifically for and works only with the GPU. As a result, it is optimized to increase the system memory, but only in the tasks that the GPU requires.
Its main disadvantage is that, unlike RAM, it cannot be upgraded. It is built into the graphics card. While all of its capabilities appear to provide your GPU with the best possible gaming resources. Yet you should not underestimate how demanding modern games are. Let’s take a look at some of the other factors that can influence VRAM usage.
How Does VRAM Affect the Performance of Your Computer?
If you want to play the most recent games at 4K resolution, you’ll need a GPU with at least 8 GB of VRAM.
The following are the most popular screen resolutions. They are listed in order of the number of pixels displayed, from lowest to highest:
- 720p – 2GB of VRAM (1280 x 720)
- 1080p – 2GB-6GB of VRAM (1920 x 1080)
- 1440p – 4-8GB of VRAM (2560 x 1440)
- 4K – 8GB+ VRAM (3840 x 2160)
The most demanding mainstream resolution used in today’s games is 4K. It provides additional clarity that lower resolutions cannot match.
What Factors Influence/Affect VRAM?
The more VRAM you have, the more important graphics-related data your GPU will have quick access to. It allows it to send frames to your monitor at a faster rate.
However, depending on how you use your computer, you may require more or less VRAM. The following are the most common factors that influence how much VRAM you will require:
- Your Monitor’s Resolution
- The Games You Are Playing
- The Settings You Are Playing Your Games At
What is the difference between RAM and VRAM?
System memory, also known as RAM, is a type of temporary storage in your computer. It allows the processor (CPU) to quickly access the data required for processing your workloads. RAM modules in the system can be easily upgraded or swapped out.
It is a type of fast RAM. It makes the graphics card processor use exclusively for tasks such as rendering scenes and driving displays.
VRAM is soldered directly onto the graphics card. Since it is close to the graphics processor, it can access information much faster. Faster than system RAM or attached storage devices. But why is VRAM required to be soldered onto the GPU? Can’t we just make a GPU VRAM Socket and swap RAM Modules? Similar to what we do with System RAM on the motherboard.
This is not possible because VRAM is much faster than system RAM. Also, a GPU Core does not have the same number of caches (L1, L2, L3) as a CPU. This means that the GPU must be able to access the VRAM as quickly as possible. Hence, it must be soldered onto the GPU for signal integrity reasons.
VRAM Usage Is Game-Dependent
It is obvious that games with better graphics will require more VRAM.
We can all agree that there is no point in playing a fantastic game like Red Dead Redemption 2 if you aren’t going to experience and enjoy all of its beauty, right?
This would mean that less graphically intensive games like Minecraft or Team Fortress 2, would be easier to run. However, there are some caveats, particularly with regard to one particular game.
Types of VRAM:
There are two types of VRAM: GDDR or HBM.
Both GDDR and HBM have evolved over time, with each new generation bringing advancements. These updates are in areas such as scaled-down node processing technology, memory bandwidth, and transistor count. It allows manufacturers to add faster and more processing cores to graphics cards.
It is similar to DDR System memory. GDDR, or Graphics Double Data Rate, has long been the VRAM of choice for the graphics card industry. GDDR saw massive improvements in transfer rates from the fifth generation onwards. GDDR6 has double the transfer rate of GDDR5.
High Bandwidth Memory, or HBM, is a type of VRAM that uses stacked memory chips. It achieves a smaller form factor than comparable GDDR memory.
HBM is also more power-efficient due to its wide memory bus. This allows it to transfer data at lower clock speeds.
How Much Video RAM Do I Require?
Resolution is the most important factor to consider when it comes to VRAM in 2021. How much do you really need?
We’ve already mentioned that the majority of the latest graphics cards include 8 GB of VRAM. So that’s definitely what you should aim for. It is a more future-proof GPU.
Meanwhile, 4 GB will hardly be enough for higher-resolution gaming. The only reason to get a 4-GB graphics card in 2021 is if you’re really tight on cash. There are, of course, other options. The GTX 1660 Super, for example, has 6 GB of VRAM. Some high-end models, such as the GTX 1080 Ti and the RTX 2080 Ti, have up to 11 GB.
However, the differences in performance are not solely due to VRAM. It can be difficult to tell how much of it is memory and how much is GPU processing power.
What actually uses/fills up my VRAM?
The frame buffer used for monitor display takes up only a small portion of the graphic card’s memory. A 4K HDR image takes up around 50MB of VRAM. Due to this low consumption, graphics cards whose sole purpose is to drive displays do not require large amounts of VRAM.
When a graphics card needs to render frames for visually demanding tasks, it requires several data buffers that cover the scene’s texture, lighting, shadows, geometry, and so on. This quickly fills up the GPU’s available VRAM.
Add in features like Ray Tracing, Anti-Aliasing, and complex texture maps will need a lot. Working at higher resolutions will increase the amount of VRAM required.
To summaries, anything that the GPU requires for processing is stored in it.
Depending on your workload, this could be as follows:
- Data Buffers, Frame Buffers
- Textures, Videos (Image-Sequences)
- Polygons, Meshes, Geometry
- Lights, Light Caches
- Depth Maps, UV Maps
Now you have an idea on What is Video RAM. Overall, 4 GB is the bare minimum for 1080p gaming in 2021. While 6-8 GB should be the goal for most people who want to run 1440p or 4K games. However, these are only broad strokes. When choosing your ideal graphics card, the processing power of the GPU is far more important.