Video RAM which is often referred to as VRAM is a very big essential when it comes to buying a gaming laptop or building a gaming PC. But why is it essential? What are the uses of VRAM? and; How can we maximise the efficiency of a particular VRAM, etc. are the questions this article will try to answer.
What is VRAM?
VRAM is short for Video Random Access Memory, the working of both VRAM and RAM is essentially the same; in case of RAM the CPU accesses the important data to carry out processes, in case of VRAM the GPU accesses the important data to carry out graphic intensive processes.
Unlike RAM, the VRAM cannot be upgraded once it is installed onto a PC or Laptop. This is because VRAM is embedded directly onto the graphic card. Hence, the amount of VRAM a GPU has, is the amount a system will have to use until the user upgrades the GPU with a better VRAM.
The Types of VRAM
VRAM’s have come a long way; back when they were released initially to help the users in Commercial fields in graphic intensive work. The VRAM’s of today are focused on both Productivity usage and Gaming usage, we can also see that now we have different companies producing GPU’s which gives us more choosing power.
Not to go into the depth but, VRAM works on the basis of the core the developer has put inside it. For instance, if a core is gaming oriented it will have far more CUDA and Tensor cores inside it for a refined and smooth gaming experience. On the other hand if a core is productivity oriented, it will have more CUDA and Tensor cores than its gaming counterpart; this is because a productivity oriented GPU will need to perform a lot of actions simultaneously. If the cores and VRAM are not refined enough to take this pressure, the system will crash eventually.
With that being said, the types of VRAM are as follows:
- SGRAM– The data in this type of RAM is clock synced, and is one of the least expensive type of memory. Data can be modified in a single process instead of the usual; read, write and update.
- RDRAM– This is one of the fastest types of VRAM which is available. It has a Data Transfer Rate (DTR) of up to 800mhz. It further allows the data to pass through a simplified bus, and may have dual channels; which can improve the transfer rate significantly.
- WRAM– It is a far more superior than the regular VRAM; and supports a dual ported VRAM that gives it a 25% boost than the normal VRAM.
- MDRAM– It is a highly efficient RAM as it divides the memory into several 32kb parts; making it easier for the system to access it and increasing the overall performance.
Factors Impacting/Utilizing VRAM
A lot of factors come into when we are talking VRAM and how they affect the system. Starting from the very start, we have to understand that the more VRAM we have, the better the GPU will be able to read and send back the information to the monitor.
It also depends on how an individual is using the GPU, for instance, if a GPU is being used for high intensity productivity work; the GPU will not work at its best. This is because the GPU has enough cores to support Gaming, and not Productivity work.
VRAM is further affected by the following:
- Monitor’s resolution
- Games being played
- Settings the Games are being played at
How does monitor resolution affect the gameplay
Monitor resolution defines the number of pixels required to process a image. In simpler words the more the number of pixels the higher the processing power a VRAM has to use to produce a single frame.
A 1920×1080 resolution will require far less VRAM processing power than what a 3840×2160 resolution would require.
How the games we play affect the VRAM
Just like a higher resolution requires more VRAM, the same way a high graphic intensive game will require more VRAM. This is because a game which is known for its graphic quality and details, will put the VRAM to its full potential and the frames produced by it will depend on how fast or slow the GPU works.
Games like Minecraft, Valorant, CS:GO won’t require higher processing power. But games like Forza Horizon 4, Rainbow Six Siege require a higher processing power, thus putting the VRAM to test.
How the settings we play the games at affect the VRAM
As explained above, higher the graphic demands of the game the more the VRAM will be used by the game.
But the game setting also dictate as to how the VRAM is allocated. For instance, if a player wants to see maximum details and is okay with lower frame rates. The individual can max out the settings and put the VRAM to throttle.
On the other hand if an individual has an aging system, they can lower the settings to play a game at playable frame rates.
This is the worst nightmare for anyone who is building their PC or going to buy a laptop. A bottleneck can occur for both CPU and GPU respectively.
A CPU bottleneck occurs when the GPU being used in the system is far more superior than the CPU; thus causing the CPU to not process all the information being sent by the GPU.
A GPU bottleneck occurs when the CPU being used in the system is far more superior than the GPU; thus causing the GPU to not keep up with the processing power of the CPU.
TO fix a bottleneck the user has to essentially use a GPU which will meet the requirements of a CPU; but it also important to note that the generation gap between the CPU and GPU should not be so great that the new GPU bottleneck’s the build again.
For instance a GPU with 700mb of VRAM and a CPU of the 11th generation with 32 cores will simply not work together. It will crumble the entire system down. Instead a GPU with 6GB of VRAM and a CPU of 10th Generation with 8-12 cores will work in great sync with each other.
VRAM required in 2021
This brings us to the end of the article, which will answer your question.
If you are looking for a system which will not hurt your pocket and allow you to game with decent frames; a VRAM of 4GB is recommended with a 1920×1080 resolution monitor. On the other hand if you are looking for a system which will allow you to game with optimal frames and graphics; a VRAM of 6GB is recommended. Bonus with a 6GB VRAM is that you can have a monitor of 2560×1440 resolution and still get decent frames.
Coming to the big guns, if you are looking for amazing frames with amazing graphics; a VRAM of 8GB and above is recommended. The best part about this is that; you can have a monitor which supports 3840×2160 resolution and still get the amazing frames and grpahics.