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Does GPU memory matter? How much VRAM do you need?

Data such as rendered images, textures, and shadows are stored in GPU memory, allowing your computer's GPU to quickly access this information. But does it really matter how much GPU memory you have? Yes. Here's why.

What is VRAM used for?

Similar to system RAM, Video Random Access Memory (VRAM) stores graphics data so that the GPU can access it quickly, allowing you to see visuals on your computer screen. This is RAM designed for use with your computer's GPU, supporting tasks such as image rendering, storing texture maps, and other graphics-related tasks.

VRAM was originally called DDR SGRAM. Over the years it evolved into GRDDR2 RAM with a 500 MHz memory clock. Today, GDDR6 RAM can achieve transfer rates of over 144 GB/s and memory clock speeds of over 1125 MHz.

EVGA's release of the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, for example, features 12GB of GDDR6X RAM and a boosted memory clock of 1800MHz. The question, however, is whether a gaming PC or laptop really needs that much VRAM.

EVGA GeForce RTX 3080Ti

Recommended VRAM for apps and games

Your computer's VRAM requirements vary depending on how you use your machine. Graphic designers, modelers, engineers, and creators often use powerful software that requires more VRAM, depending on the complexity of the project.

The absolute minimum VRAM requirement for 3D modeling, animation, video editing and graphic design is between 4 and 6 GB of GDDR5. However, it is recommended to use the latest version of VRAM, so up to 6 GB of GDDR6 would be preferable.

Depending on the complexity of the projects you are working on, the recommended average VRAM is between 6 and 8 GB of GDDR6 and above. But, if you have the budget to upgrade your graphics card, 10+ GB of GDDR6/6X VRAM will be more than enough to run different workloads seamlessly.

VRAM also has a significant impact on gaming performance and is often where GPU memory matters the most. Most games running at 1080p can comfortably use a 6GB graphics card with GDDR5 or higher VRAM. However, 4K games require a bit more, with 8-10GB recommended more GDDR6 VRAM.

Depending on the types of games you play, throwing more VRAM on your graphics card doesn't mean your GPU will perform better.

If you're playing a game on an 800×600 resolution monitor, 4GB of VRAM is actually too much and won't make any difference to your computer's performance. However, playing at 1440p or 4K with the same amount of VRAM is not suitable; that's not enough VRAM to handle the full gaming experience at those resolutions.

What factors impact VRAM?

Besides playing games and running apps, there are other factors that impact VRAM. These factors determine whether your computer needs more or less VRAM, so it's important to understand your needs.

Your PC or laptop screen uses more VRAM if it has a higher resolution. Processing a single frame uses VRAM, so the more pixels contained in each frame, the more VRAM is required.

A 1080p display takes less VRAM than a 1440p monitor, but a 4K monitor at 3840x2160 will take more VRAM than a 2560x1440 (1440p). Thus, more VRAM is required to play games on a 4K monitor.

As we know, games use VRAM. But the amount it uses differs depending on the type of game you play. If you're a fan of Minecraft, for example, which is a less graphically intense game, you won't need a lot of VRAM. By comparison, if you're playing a AAA title with dense, detailed landscapes like Dying Light 2 or Elden Ring, you'll need a lot more VRAM to run the game smoothly.

Likewise, the settings in which you play games on your computer affect the amount of VRAM you need. Generally, higher settings will require more VRAM; each rendered frame puts more strain on your graphics card. But, on top of that, you need to consider technologies like Ray Tracing and DLSS; these are also stored in VRAM.

How much VRAM do you need?

Whether you want to play games at the highest settings with a consistent frame rate or work on detailed graphics projects, VRAM plays a role in your choice when choosing the best graphics card for your computer or computer. portable.

Investing in a GPU that offers a little more VRAM than you currently need is definitely worth it. Not only does it meet your needs today, but it also protects your PC for years to come, saving you from having to upgrade your graphics card so soon.

Installing a graphics card with at least 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM will likely have you covered for most graphics tasks and games. However, our recommendation would be to go for 8GB or 10GB if your budget allows.

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