GuidesWikiVRAM: What, Types, & How To Increase It

VRAM: What, Types, & How To Increase It

In this article, I will enlighten you with the concepts and technicalities involved in VRAM. We will have a look at the importance of VRAM.

GPUs are an important part of every PC build, no matter what profession you are in. Many metrics reflect the performance of a graphics card. Such an important parameter is VRAM which plays a crucial role in the performance of a GPU, especially if you are a gamer or content creator. Let us dive in and explore the technical aspects of GPU memory.

Also Read: What Is VRM?

Key Takeaways

  • VRAM stands for Video Random Access Memory. This memory is dedicated to GPU only and facilitates its operation by making frequently accessed data like renders, shaders, and other graphical elements available quickly.
  • You can easily check your VRAM through the pre-installed “dxdiag” application on your Windows PC.
  • I will recommend a minimum of 8GB VRAM in 2023 for the smooth operation of productive applications and high-end games at good resolution.

What Is VRAM?

VRAM blocks on GPU
VRAM blocks on GPU

VRAM stands for Video Random Access Memory. This memory is exclusive to GPU only. Just like the RAM stores rapidly accessed data by the CPU and other peripherals, the VRAM stores data required frequently by the graphics card. It stores data required for rendering images, videos, and other graphical elements.

In other words, VRAM acts as a high-speed buffer between the graphics card and the display. It holds textures, frames, shaders, and other necessary data needed for displaying images and graphics. It is an important parameter for users who frequently encounter real-time rendering applications like high-end games, graphics designing, 3D modeling, and computer-aided design (CAD). Therefore, having a dedicated and fast VRAM allows for smoother graphics performance, higher resolutions, and better visual effects.

Types of VRAM

VRAMs have continued to evolve since their release. Each type has its characteristics in terms of speed, bandwidth, power consumption, and cost. Let us go through some commonly known types:

SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory)

SDRAM is one of the earliest types of display memory. It provided faster access times compared to regular DRAM and allowed for simultaneous memory access by the GPU and display circuitry.

SGRAM (Synchronous Graphics RAM)

SGRAM is an enhanced version of SDRAM specifically designed for graphics applications. It introduced features like multiple banks and a higher memory bus speed, improving overall performance.

DDR SDRAM (Double Data Rate SDRAM)

DDR SDRAM is a type of memory that achieved higher data transfer rates by transferring data on both the rising and falling edges of the clock cycle. It offered increased memory bandwidth and it is widely used in graphics cards for its improved performance.

GDDR (Graphics Double Data Rate)

GDDR is a modern type of specialized memory designed specifically for graphics processing units. It has gone through several iterations, each offering increased bandwidth and performance. Some common GDDR versions include GDDR2, GDDR3, GDDR4, GDDR5, GDDR5X, GDDR6, and the latest GDDR6X. These iterations introduced higher clock speeds, wider memory interfaces, and improved power efficiency.

HBM (High Bandwidth Memory)

HBM is a newer type of VRAM that was introduced to address the increasing demands for high-performance graphics. It features a vertically stacked memory structure, allowing for a more compact form factor and improved memory bandwidth. HBM is known for its high speed and low power consumption, making it suitable for high-end graphics cards.

How To Check VRAM?

There are several ways in which you can check your VRAM. The easiest one is searching for the “dxdiag” application on your Windows. It does not require you to install any tools. You can do it by simply typing “dxdiag” in the window’s search bar and running the application that shows up. Once you run the application, look for the “Display” or “Render” tab. There you will find your VRAM.

Checking VRAM using the “dxdiag” application

Can You Increase VRAM?

Generally, the only way you can increase your VRAM is by replacing your graphics card because the GPU memory is integrated into the hardware of the GPU. So, VRAM is an intrinsic property of a GPU that cannot be altered once it is manufactured. But there is a tricky way of increasing the GPU memory without replacing it. Yes, I am talking about installing more memory in your existing graphics card. It can be done by physically desoldering original VRAM modules and then replacing them with higher-capacity ones on your GPU, which is a risky and tricky procedure. But technically, it is possible to extend the memory of your existing GPU.

Difference Between RAM and VRAM

Despite the various similarities between RAM and VRAM, they are not the same and have different functions. RAM helps in speeding up processes by providing frequently accessed data by the CPU quickly. On the other hand, VRAM does the same but for the GPU only. It stores and quickly provides the data needed by a graphics card for rendering images. Unlike the RAM, it cannot contribute to speeding up the overall processes, but it can only facilitate GPU. In a nutshell, VRAM is the GPU dedicated memory only that acts as a high-speed buffer between GPU and display. It stores and provides frames, renders, shaders, and other data needed by GPU.

How Much VRAM Do You Need In 2023?

The exact amount of GPU memory you require in 2023 depends on several factors ranging from your need to your budget. But if you are a high-end gamer, content creator, or CAD designer, you will need a GPU with at least 8GB of memory to smoothly run your applications at good resolution.

For casual web browsing, office work, or watching videos, 2GB to 4GB should be sufficient in most cases. If you’re a gamer, the amount of GPU memory you need will depend on the resolution you play at. For 1080p gaming, 4GB to 6GB is typically considered sufficient for most triple-A games. However, for more demanding games or if you plan to use higher resolutions like 1440p or 4K, you may want to consider graphics cards with 8GB or more of VRAM to ensure smooth performance.

Moreover, if you’re involved in tasks such as 3D modeling, video editing, or running complex simulations, you might benefit from even higher amounts of GPU memory. Professional-grade GPUs often come with 8GB to 16GB or more of VRAM to handle these demanding workloads efficiently.

Final Thoughts

AMD 16GB VRAM Graphics Card
AMD 16GB VRAM Graphics Card

Summing up, VRAM is an important GPU metric that greatly influences the performance of your graphics card. VRAM is the memory type that is dedicated to GPU use only, and it does not contribute to speeding up other CPU processes. You can think of it as the high-speed buffer between GPU and the displaying body. This buffer feeds renders, shaders, frames, and other graphical data.

To check your VRAM, you can simply run “dxdiag” in your Windows and look for it in the “Display” or “Render” tab there. This method does not require you to install any third-party tools. Moreover, VRAM is the intrinsic property of GPU which means you cannot alter it.

As far as the memory size of the GPU is concerned in 2023, I will suggest having a GPU with at least 8GB memory to smoothly run all your GPU-hungry games and productive applications.


What does VRAM stand for?

VRAM stands for “Video Random Access Memory.”

Is 4GB VRAM enough?

The specific requirement of dedicated graphics memory depends on your need. Generally, 4GB is good for running games at lower resolutions. But if you want to run games at resolutions above 1080p, you will surely need to replace your GPU with a higher VRAM one.

How much VRAM do I need for 4k?

If you want to run your games at 4k, you should start with at least 8GB. Whereas professional setups have a GPU memory of even up to 16GB to run games at 4k.

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