What Is VRAM? [A Beginner-Friendly Guide]

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Jul 19, 2022

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If you’ve done any graphics or video editing work, then you’re probably familiar with the term VRAM. To most people, it represents the amount of graphics memory. But there’s more to it.

So, what exactly is VRAM? 

What Is VRAM?

Video Random Access Memory (VRAM) refers to any type of RAM expressly set aside for collecting and storing image data for a computer display. VRAM ensures that the display of graphics on your device runs smoothly. This is vital for applications that display complex image textures or polygon-based 3D structures.

VRAM is imperative in gaming. Because different games have different resolutions, each one requires a unique amount of VRAM. Rendering a high-quality image requires extra graphics card memory. Without this, the textures will overrun the device's VRAM, and the GPU will allow a spill-over into the RAM. This will result in poor performance.

There are different types of VRAM to consider. They are:

Multibank DRAM (MDRAM) - A high-performance RAM that divides memory into multiple 32kb parts, which can be accessed separately. Such independent memory banks allow multiple access to run concurrently, increasing the overall performance.

Synchronous Graphics RAM (SGRAM) - A clock synchronized and relatively cheaper video memory. It functions like a dual-ported memory by opening two pages simultaneously.

Window RAM (WRAM) - is a dual-ported, high-performance GPU VRAM. It’s more efficient at reading data in high resolution. This RAM, however, is unrelated to Microsoft Windows.

Rambus DRAM - Rambus designed this VRAM. It involves a proprietary bus that helps speed up data flow between the frame buffer and VRAM.

How VRAM Works

The VRAM is a particular type of RAM that works with a computer’s Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). This dedicated GPU memory is a chip on the computer video card. It’s responsible for displaying images on the screen.

The RAM holds information that the GPU needs like lightning effects, game textures, etc. Hence, the GPU can swiftly access this data and produce the video on the screen. 

VRAM vs RAM

As mentioned earlier, VRAM is a type of RAM. Random Access Memory refers to a computer’s general memory. So, VRAM exclusively processes graphics inclined tasks

It acts as a storage for all images and graphic data shown on the computer. It also ensures a smooth execution on the display. With a higher VRAM capacity, you can process more data in less time and with better resolutions.

VRAM is dual-ported; it supports simultaneous read-and-write operations. Whereas the RAM used in PCs is single-ported.

VRAM is typically faster than RAM. Most RAM sticks use DDR4 technology with a speed of 2133Hz and frequency of about 3000-3600MHz. While GDDR6, which is used on most modern VRAMs, works at about 14,000 to 16,000MHz. This is much faster than the DDR4 memory in some other modern computers.

In some cases, RAM can be replaced or upgraded. Laptops use SO-DIMM memory slots, while Desktop PCs use DIMM memory slots. So you can only replace your RAM sticks with faster ones if your computer doesn’t come with soldered RAM

How to Increase VRAM

To increase your VRAM, you need to check if your computer even needs to. If it does, you can upgrade to larger graphics card sizes. Follow the steps below to increase the VRAM via the BIOS.

  • Go to settings and select System.
  • Click the Advanced Features menu.
  • Select the menu option closest to Graphics Settings, Video Settings, or VGA Share Memory Size.

You’ll see an option to adjust the GPU memory. The size can range from 128MB to 512MB. To change the value;

  • Type Regedit into the start menu.
  • Select HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
  • Open the software file and right-click on Intel.
  • Go to New and select DWORD (32-bit) value.

You can name the folder and give a value of 0-512 max. When finished, reboot the computer.  

Wrap Up

What is VRAM?

VRAM is a random access memory used to store image data for display on a computer. It ensures that graphic memory is evenly and smoothly executed. VRAM is used chiefly for 3D graphic programs and video games.

If you’d like to do more with your device in terms of gaming, you might want to consider a higher VRAM. If you can’t upgrade to one, follow the steps above to make your device think you have enough VRAM.

FAQ.


How do I check my VRAM?

Here’s how to check VRAM on your computer:

  • Search for Display Settings in Windows.
  • Select Advanced Display Settings from your search results. 
  • Click on the text that says: Display Adapter Properties for Display.
  • A tab will pop up, and you’ll see the amount of VRAM available

How much VRAM do I need?

4GB of VRAM should be the minimum if you're going for graphic cards. However, 8GB is the standard GPU memory size or if you have a 4K or 1440p monitor.

Is VRAM better than RAM?

VRAM isn’t always better than RAM

For instance, RAM is used in storing temporary system files so that the CPU can access them immediately without having to go through the storage drives. 

So, what is VRAM?

VRAM is a type of RAM used to store GPU memory.  

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Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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