All About VRAM – What Is VRAM? How To Check And Increase VRAM?


The memory available in your computer determines its performance, especially when you are a high-end gamer. So the role of graphics cards cannot be overlooked if you want to indulge in gameplay without interruptions. Modern GPUs come with a good amount of VRAM essential for supporting applications that demand more memory. More VRAM translates to working with higher definition videos that offer a richer experience.   

What is VRAM (Video RAM)?

Video RAM or VRAM is a RAM that stores image data for a computer display. It is imperative to ensure smooth graphical performance. It plays a significant role in applications that use complex image textures. VRAM comes to aid when playing video games by offering first-class gameplay. All said, it is also essential for other functions like switching between applications.

The major use of VRAM is in 3D graphics design programs and video games. VRAM can be considered as certain arrangements of dynamic RAM or DRAM. VRAM acts like a buffer between the CPU and the monitor, hence called the frame buffer.

The images sent to the monitor are first read as data by the CPU from the main RAM and then written to VRAM. The data is sent as a digital signal from VRAM from a video port to a display. If the modern display is connected to the video card using a VGA connector or if the display itself is an old cathode ray tube model, the video signal is first converted into analog by a RAM digital to analog converter. These analog signals are then sent to the display. 

VRAM vs. RAM: What’s the Difference?  

Random Access Memory or RAM is temporary storage where all the currently running programs are stored. When a program is loaded, its data is stored in RAM for the use of the computer. VRAM is similar to RAM, but it fulfills the video, graphic, and display needs. If your computer has a graphics card, VRAM will be installed to manage the display data.

The difference between RAM and VRAM lies in the purpose of each. Your RAM is at fault if the computer becomes incapable of storing processes in its memory, and the VRAM is to be blamed if your computer cannot manage the display settings.

VRAMs in the bygone era were high performance and dual-ported. So when the processor writes a new image to the VRAM, the display reads from VRAM simultaneously to refresh what is currently being displayed. VRAM with the dual-port was the major difference between RAM and VRAM during the 1980s.  

Types of VRAM

There are four types of VRAM.

Synchronous Graphics RAM (SGRAM)

SGRAM is a clock-synchronized memory mainly used for video memory. Typically, in SGRAM, data is modified in a single process. Even though SGRAM is single-ported, it can act as dual-ported by opening two memory pages simultaneously. SGRAM is known for its relatively low cost.

Rambus DRAM (RDRAM)

RDRAM permits data to be passed through a simplified bus. With a data transfer rate of up to 800MHz, RDRAM is the fastest VRAM technology.

Window RAM (WRAM)

There is no need to confuse Window RAM with Windows OS as they are two different things. WRAM is a dual-ported VRAM with greater bandwidth than regular RAM and promises high performance. This inexpensive RAM is highly useful in reading data for use in-text drawing and block fills. It is also used for high resolutions that use true color.

Multibank DRAM (MDRAM)

This inexpensive VRAM divides the memory into different 32 KB parts that can be accessed individually. Developed by MoSys, MDRAM ensures simultaneous data access thanks to the individual memory banks. This results in the overall high performance of the VRAM. This is how MDRAM is different from traditional monolithic VRAM where the complete frame buffer is accessed at one time. During the manufacture of graphics cards, the right amount of MDRAM can be incorporated for a given resolution, unlike the other forms of VRAM that have to be in multiples of megabytes. 

What does VRAM do? What is VRAM used for? Importance of VRAM for gaming?

When image signals are sent to the monitor, they are read from regular RAM and then written to VRAM. It is then sent as a digital signal via HDMI or a digital video interface to an LED screen.

The graphics cards that are available today use a version of SGRAM named GDDR6, which is used by the latest computers as system RAM. Graphics Double Data Rate 6 comes with a makeover of GDDR5 by supporting more bandwidth and capacity. It finds its use in in-game consoles, high-performance computing, and graphics cards.

System RAM is more important than VRAM for applications involving complex data processing functions. Businesses that use modern computers can work with a chip installed on the motherboard that uses system RAM for video display as well. As is the case, a graphics card becomes less of a requirement. The open-source blockchain platform EOSIO used to create blockchain apps often uses VRAM as an alternative memory.     

Graphics cards come with VRAM installed that have varying capacities. The more the capacity of VRAM, the more it is beneficial to run high-end video games and graphic processing applications.

Just like RAM is vital for system performance, VRAM is inevitable for high performance while you are into gaming. VRAM makes your gameplay better by enabling enhanced image quality and decreased load times. The games may ask for varying capacities of VRAM to run at different resolutions. Displaying perfect images with high resolution would require more RAM.

For example, a game at 4K requires more graphical memory than a game at 1080p resolution. If not, the images can overload the VRAM forcing the GPU to push the data onto the RAM. This is one good reason for poor performance. 

For 1080p gaming, a VRAM of 4GB is good. If you are gaming in HD or Ultra HD resolutions, it is recommended to go for 8GB VRAM.

Requirements for gaming:

  • 2 GB for 720p
  • 4 GB for 1080p
  • 6 GB to 8 GB for 1440p
  • 8 GB to 12 GB for 2160p, or 4K

Requirements for video editing:

  • 8 GB for 720p to 1080p files
  • 16 GB for 4K files
  • 32 GB for editing all types of files
  • 64 GB if you want to edit 8K files

How to check VRAM?

How to check VRAM Windows 7?

  1. Open Start and type Display
  2. In the left pane, select Adjust Resolution
  3. Press Advanced Settings in the window that opens
  4. Now, a window that shows graphics card information will be opened
  5. Under the Adapter Information, you can see Dedicated Video Memory which is the VRAM

How to check VRAM Windows 10?

  1. Open Start by pressing the Windows logo key
  2. Type display and hit Enter
  3. On the screen that opens, tap the display that is seen under System
  4. Press on the Display adapter properties at the bottom of the page. Now a window that shows graphics card information will be opened
  5. Under the Adapter Information, you can see Dedicated Video Memory which is the VRAM

How to check VRAM Windows 11?     

  1. Go to Windows Settings and select System Settings
  2. Select the Display option and then select Advanced display settings
  3. Click the Display Adapter properties entry
  4. You can see the VRAM listed next to Dedicated Video Memory

How to Increase VRAM?

If your computer does not have enough VRAM, it might become difficult for games or programs to load. Here we use a trick to make the programs think that there is more VRAM than is actually available.

How to increase VRAM Windows 7?

It is possible to change a registry value to modify the VRAM though it does not actually change the value. This is done just to make the games believe that more VRAM is available.

  1. Open Start and type Regedit
  2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Intel in the Registry Editor
  3. Right-click and make a new key GMM and select the folder from the left menu
  4. Right-click on the right pane and select New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value
  5. It can be named DedicatedSegmentSize, and a decimal value up to 512 can be set.

How to increase VRAM Windows 10?

Increase VRAM via BIOS

  1. Restart your system and enter BIOS settings
  2. Now, find the secondary menu under Video Settings, Graphics, or VGA Memory Size in the Advanced menu.
  3. Adjust the DVMT pre-allocated VRAM to your desired size
  4. Press Save and restart the computer

Increase VRAM via Registry Editor

  1. Open the Run menu, type regedit, and press OK
  2. When the Registry Editor menu opens, click the drop-down arrow near HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and click the drop-down menu under the software
  3. Right-click and create a new key GMM and choice the folder from the left menu
  4. Select New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value by Right-click on the right pane
  5. It can be named DedicatedSegmentSize, and a value can be set based on your system RAM information.

Upgrade to a Dedicated GPU

Upgrading to a dedicated GPU is a better option to up the VRAM significantly. Dedicated GPUs will have more VRAM and overall computing power for complex applications.

How to increase VRAM Windows 11?

  1. Restart your computer and continuously press the BIOS key during the bootup to go to the BIOS menu
  2. Go to Advanced Features in the BIOS menu
  3. Click Graphics Settings, Video Settings, or VGA Share Memory Size
  4. Here you can increase the VRAM to a value up to 512 MB

See more: To increase VRAM Windows 11

How to increase dedicated VIDEO RAM (VRAM) on Laptop?

  1. Open Start and type Regedit
  2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Intel in the Registry Editor
  3. Press Right-click and put a new key GMM and select the folder from the left menu
  4. Right-click on the right pane and select New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value
  5. It can be named DedicatedSegmentSize, and a decimal value up to 512 can be set.

FAQs

Is VRAM better than RAM?

No, if you are comparing the two, RAM is definitely better than VRAM. Graphics cards have some dedicated memory for VRAM, which is used for storing and instantly displaying 3D models and textures. But every program, when loaded, stores its data in RAM, which plays a huge role in the overall performance of your PC. 

What happens when VRAM runs out?

When VRAM runs out, most of the latest GPUs will run a hybrid mode where video data will be streamed from system RAM instead of VRAM. As RAM is slower than VRAM, the application could run slower, or some other unexpected issues could come up when VRAM runs out.

How much VRAM do I need for 4K?

The factors that decide how much VRAM will be required for 4K are monitor resolution, games you choose to play, and how you have configured the game settings. In general, a 4K monitor needs 8GB+ VRAM. 

How Much VRAM Do I Need For Gaming?

Today, most of the graphics cards come with 8GB of VRAM. Typically, gaming in higher resolutions demands 4GB of RAM. But choosing a graphics card with 8GB of RAM makes your choice future-proof and comes in handy if you have plans to get a monitor of higher resolution.

The invention of VRAM has drastically changed the way computers perform. Knowing the advantages, more people have started using VRAM in recent times. VRAM has improved the overall frame buffer throughput paving the way to high-speed, high-resolution color graphics that significantly cut costs. 

Ref links:

  1. VRAM (video RAM)
  2. Video Random Access Memory (VRAM)
  3. 3 Ways to Increase VRAM (Windows 10)

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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