What Is VRAM? Video Random Access Memory (VRAM) allows the GPU on your graphics card to access data faster than it would be able to if it were using system memory. It’s an important component of any gaming PC, and an understanding of how it works and why it’s needed can help you get the most out of your gaming experience without frustration or lag. Here’s everything you need to know about VRAM in video games, from its uses to how much you should invest in extra video RAM for your computer.
What Is VRAM on a Graphics Card?
Your computer’s graphics card plays a critical role in how it performs and how much you pay for it. For example, if you’re on a PC, your display monitor isn’t just getting its image from your computer’s CPU. If you’re playing a game or using other GPU-based software, all of that data is being pushed through your video card.
The video card creates a virtual environment—the pixels of text, animation and interactive screens—that would be impossible with just one piece of hardware alone. Think of it like movie theater projectors creating an animated world from just hundreds of light bulbs all focused together onto one screen.
Benefits of Higher Video RAM
For example, if you want a faster computer, then a higher-end graphics card will help. Simply put, VRAM helps computers display graphics more easily and quickly. It allows your computer’s processor and RAM to work together seamlessly in order to bring better color and resolution. A higher-quality display isn’t worth much if your computer can’t keep up with it! When shopping for new RAM or upgrading an existing system, it can be confusing trying to determine exactly how much is necessary.
Fortunately, there are some simple rules of thumb that make calculating compatibility quite simple: PC requirements have always been broken down into three categories: minimum requirements, recommended requirements, and ideal (or future-proof) requirements.
What are the other terms associated with VRAM
For those who are curious, there are several other terms that can be use interchangeably with VRAM. These include video memory, display memory and video buffer. Since these terms all relate to a graphics card’s ability to store information and process it quickly, they effectively refer to similar concepts. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which term you use as long as you understand what it means and remember how it pertains to graphics cards.
How do you determine your video RAM requirement for gaming?
While today’s modern games will run on just about any computer, especially if you turn down your settings, they are still dependent on enough video RAM to keep up with all of those flashy graphics. To determine how much video RAM you need for gaming, there are a few things you can do. First, find out what kinds of games you like to play and check out their system requirements. If it’s a game that has been out for a while or is relatively well-known among gamers, that information should be readily available online. Make sure you double-check by Googling for it!
Is VRAM Better Than RAM?
No, not really. There are a few different ways that graphics cards get memory—VRAM and RAM. And while both are important, having more of one doesn’t necessarily make up for having less of another. Think of it like having two buckets: The first (RAM) can fill with water until it’s full, and then any extra goes into your second bucket (VRAM). That bucket also fills up until it’s full, but if you don’t have a big enough bucket in the first place, no amount of overflow will help you out. So what does all that mean for you?
Can You Upgrade VRAM?
Generally, no. The VRAM in your computer’s graphics card can only be upgrade by replacing that graphics card with a new one altogether. However, many laptops come equipped with a way to switch out your laptop’s current RAM for higher-capacity versions. These replacement kits are available from manufacturers like Crucial and Transcend and can be useful if you want more memory for gaming or other intensive activities but don’t want to purchase a whole new laptop.
Many of today’s high-end graphics cards come with many GBs worth of video random access memory (VRAM), so it’s a good idea to understand what exactly it is. Most people probably know what RAM does, as it’s a common computer component that stores working data for computers and other digital devices.
The same goes for a graphics card’s VRAM. This type of memory in your card stores visual information like colors and textures needed by games and other graphics-intensive programs that aren’t being displayed on your screen at any given time. So, when you run an application like Photoshop or play a game, its visuals are loaded into your graphics card’s memory so they can be sent to your monitor quickly when needed.
FAQs About VRAM:
The amount of video RAM you need depends on how much you’re planning on playing graphics-intensive games. If you’re just using your computer for typical web browsing and watching videos, 1GB should be more than enough. If you play graphically intensive games, however, or plan on streaming video and taking high-quality screenshots, consider getting 4GB or more.
For standard 1080p HD gaming, 2GB of video RAM should be more than enough. However, if you want high-res textures, anti-aliasing or very high refresh rates (or any combination of those), you might need a bit more.
Most manufacturers have a download page where you can check your GPU memory easily and quickly. You’ll need a few things, though: your video card model number (i.e., GeForce GTX 1060 3GB), graphics driver version (32-bit or 64-bit) and operating system.