What Is Dedicated Video RAM (VRAM)?
Video Random Access Memory, or VRAM (pronounced “VEE-ram”), is RAM optimized for use with a computer’s GPU.
Whenever you see an image on your screen, it’s because of the graphics processing unit (GPU) on your computer’s graphics card (sometimes referred to as a “video card”). The terms GPU and graphics card are frequently used interchangeably despite the fact that this is technically incorrect.
The graphics processing unit (GPU) relies on the data stored in your video RAM, which includes game textures and lighting effects. This expedites the GPU’s ability to access the data and send it to the display.
Given its proximity to the graphics processing unit (GPU), video RAM is vastly superior to system RAM for this purpose. VRAM is purpose-built for extreme workloads, hence the term “dedicated.”
How to Check Your VRAM in Windows 10 and Windows 11
Follow these steps to see how much video RAM you have in Windows 10:
- In order to access the settings menu, press Win I.
- Click System, then Display on the left sidebar.
- Click the link labeled “Advanced display settings” near the bottom of the screen.
- In the resulting drop-down, choose the display for which you’d like to change the settings. Once there, scroll down to the Display adapter properties text and click it.
- Your current video RAM is displayed in a new window next to Dedicated Video Memory.
In Windows 11, you can access this menu by clicking on the Start button, then clicking Settings, then clicking System, then clicking Display, and finally clicking on Advanced display. Then, select a screen and go to the properties for its Display adapter by clicking on it.
If you have a Nvidia or AMD graphics card, the name of it will be listed under Adapter Type. You are most likely using integrated graphics if you see an AMD Accelerated Processing Unit or an Intel HD Graphics. In the following sections, we’ll go into more detail about this.
How important is VRAM for video editing?
What’s the difference between RAM and VRAM?
RAM (Random Access Memory) is the main memory of your computer and is where the operating system and all programs are loaded and run from. When you upgrade your computer’s memory, you give it the ability to run more programs at once, which boosts overall performance.
Known as “Video RAM” (or “VRAM” for short), this type of RAM is designed specifically for storing and loading video. More video RAM means more 2D and 3D images can be displayed at once. This is something that the graphics processing unit (GPU) will be in charge of for the most part, especially when rendering, so it is crucial to have one installed in your computer if you want to have the fastest possible editing experience.
What determines your memory requirements for video editing?
- What kinds of software do you use?
There are bare minimums that must be met by all software before it can be used. Although 8 GB is the bare minimum, Adobe Premiere Pro really shines with 16 GB or more of RAM. Those requirements are the bare minimum that should be met by your system.
- How many windows are currently active?
Increases in RAM allow you to run more than one program simultaneously. In addition, the amount of RAM available and the number of running processes both have an effect on system performance.
- Which medium are you utilizing?
Which of Full HD, 4K, and 8K are you using? All of these elements contribute to the RAM requirements. The recording’s bitrate is also critical. As the quality of your camera’s recordings increases in terms of both resolution and bit rate, so too will your need for storage space. More RAM is crucial for efficient and rapid work in motion graphics.
How to Increase VRAM
Buying a new or better graphics card is the best way to increase your video RAM. An upgrade to a dedicated card (even one of the best budget graphics cards) can do wonders for your video output if you are currently using integrated graphics and experiencing poor performance.
If you don’t have this luxury (for example, on a laptop), you still may have two options for expanding your dedicated VRAM.
How to Increase VRAM in the BIOS
The first approach involves fiddling around with the settings in your computer’s UEFI or BIOS to alter the amount of RAM dedicated to the video card. After entering the BIOS, look for a submenu labeled “Advanced Features,” “Advanced Chipset Features,” or something similar. Look for a submenu labeled VGA Share Memory Size, Graphics Settings, or Video Settings.
In them, you can set the amount of RAM available to the GPU. The standard amount of memory is 128 MB, but you can increase it to 256 MB or even 512 MB if you have the resources.
However, this feature isn’t present in all CPUs or BIOSes. There is a possible workaround if you are unable to alter the situation.
Faking a VRAM Increase in Windows
Details reported in the Adapter Properties window are generally irrelevant because most integrated graphics solutions automatically adjust to use the amount of system RAM they need. The Dedicated Video Memory value is completely fictitious for integrated graphics. That fake number is all that the system reports when games ask about your available video memory (VRAM).
As a result, you can alter the amount of virtual memory (VRAM) your system reports to games by modifying a Registry value. Changing that numeric value does not increase your actual VRAM. Some games may not launch unless you have a certain amount of video memory installed, so increasing this value may solve the problem.
Type regedit into the search bar of the Start menu to bring up the Registry Editor. Take care when editing values in the Registry; doing so incorrectly can severely damage your system.
Here’s where you need to go:
Error: No such language "markup"
Error in producing the code!!
Select New > Key from the context menu after right-clicking the Intel folder in the left pane. What is this GMM? When you get there, choose the new GMM folder on the left, and then right-click inside the folder on the right.
Choose File > New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Give this new setting the name DedicatedSegmentSize, and enter a value with the Decimal option selected. The minimum value is 0 (which disables the entry) and the maximum is 512 megabytes. After changing this setting and restarting your computer, check to see if the game runs smoother.
These solutions aren’t a surefire way to fix your video memory issues, but they’re worth a shot if you’re having trouble. If you are having trouble playing games that require integrated graphics because of a lack of system RAM, try upgrading your RAM or freeing up some RAM for the graphics processor to use. When using an integrated graphics solution, your system’s regular RAM is used for the graphics processing instead of the specialized video RAM found in a graphics card; therefore, you’ll need a lot of it to play games smoothly.
Changing out components like RAM or a graphics card can be a pain on a laptop but a breeze on a desktop.
What Kinds of Tasks Need Video RAM?
What uses the most VRAM in games and other graphics-intensive apps should be mentioned before discussing specific values for video memory.
Your monitor’s resolution (and more specifically, the resolution you’re running a game at) is a major contributor to VRAM usage. The frame buffer is stored in video RAM and keeps an image in memory until the GPU is ready to display it. Since higher-resolution images require more pixels to display, higher-quality displays (like a 4K HDR monitor) require more VRAM.
The amount of VRAM a game requires can be heavily influenced by its textures in addition to the resolution of your monitor. Most new PC games have graphical settings that can be tweaked to improve performance or visual quality.
Depending on the game and the settings, you may be able to use a less expensive card (or even integrated graphics) to run a game from several years ago at Low or Medium. Nonetheless, if you want to play at High or Ultra quality, or install mods that improve the visual quality of the game’s textures, you’ll need a lot of video RAM.
The extra pixels needed for enhancements like anti-aliasing (the smoothing of jagged edges) also necessitate more VRAM. Using two monitors at once doubles the intensity.
The amount of video RAM (VRAM) a computer needs to run a given game can vary widely. The visual requirements of an older cartoony game like Overwatch are lower than those of a newer game with advanced lighting effects and detailed textures like Cyberpunk 2077.
However, if you want to play PC games from 20 years ago or more, all you need is a cheap card with 2GB of VRAM (or even integrated graphics with 8GB of system RAM). The amount of memory available to games back then was minuscule in comparison to what we have today.
You’ll need a substantial amount of VRAM even if you have no intention of playing games, as some of today’s most popular programs have very visual interfaces. If your computer does not have enough video RAM, you may experience slowdowns or other issues when working with 3D design software like AutoCAD, making extensive edits in Photoshop, or editing high-quality video.
How Much VRAM Do I Need?
Evidently, there is no sweet spot for VRAM capacity. However, we can give you a general idea of how much VRAM your graphics card should have.
- Affordable graphics cards with 1 to 2 GB of VRAM can often be found for under $100. The performance is better than integrated graphics, but they still can’t handle most modern games on high settings. If you want to play older games that don’t support integrated graphics, you’ll need a card with this much VRAM. This computer is not suited for 3D modeling or video editing.
- Middle-of-the-road graphics cards with 3GB to 6GB of VRAM can handle moderately demanding tasks like moderate gaming or light video editing. Even though you won’t be able to use insane texture packs, you should be able to play most new games at 1080p with little to no lag. If you’re trying to decide between 4GB and 6GB, go with the latter.
- Over and above 8GB of VRAM: Powerful graphics cards with this much memory are reserved for professionals. You’ll need a graphics card with a lot of video memory (VRAM) to run modern games at 4K resolution.
But remember that you should take all of those broad statements with a grain of salt. Manufacturers of graphics cards will include a specific amount of video memory (VRAM) in a card in relation to the performance of the GPU.
As a result, the amount of VRAM on a $75 graphics card will be very low compared to the amount on a $500 graphics card. Having 8GB of VRAM on a card is pointless if the GPU isn’t powerful enough to render video that large.
VRAM is not vulnerable to extreme conditions. To enjoy 2D indie platformers, you don’t need an $800, top-of-the-line card with 12GB of VRAM. When a card you want to buy comes in more than one VRAM configuration, that’s the only time you need to worry about how much VRAM to get. Choosing a GPU requires consideration of more than just VRAM.
Common Video RAM Concerns
Keep in mind that just like regular RAM, more VRAM isn’t guaranteed to result in better performance. If your current card only has 4GB of VRAM and you are playing a game that only uses 2GB, upgrading to an 8GB card won’t make a noticeable difference.
However, the opposite is true: not having enough VRAM causes serious issues. In the event that virtual memory (VRAM) is full, the system will fall back on regular RAM, which will severely degrade performance. There will be negative effects such as a decreased frame rate and texture pop-ins. If the frame rate drops below 30 frames per second (FPS), the game may become unplayable.
Don’t forget that VRAM is just one component of overall performance. Rendering 4K video could take an eternity if your CPU isn’t up to the task. You can’t have too many programs open at once, and your system’s performance will suffer if you’re still using a mechanical hard drive and not a solid-state one. Some more affordable graphics cards still use the outdated and underpowered DDR3 VRAM instead of more modern technologies like DDR6 or DDR5.
To determine the optimal graphics card and amount of video RAM, it is best to consult an expert. If you don’t know if a given graphics card will meet your needs, you can either ask a friend who is up-to-date on the subject or post a question on a website like Reddit or Tom’s Hardware.
Understanding VRAM With Integrated Graphics
All of the preceding sentences assume that your computer already has a dedicated graphics card installed. When customizing or purchasing a prebuilt gaming PC, the vast majority of users will have a desktop with a video card installed. You can even find a dedicated graphics card in some of the beefier laptops out there.
However, integrated graphics are used in low-cost desktops and off-the-shelf laptops.
When the graphics processing unit (GPU) is included on the same silicon die as the central processing unit (CPU), rather than having its own dedicated VRAM, the system is said to use an integrated graphics solution. This cheap option eliminates the need for a bulky and power-hungry video card, allowing laptops to render basic graphics. However, integrated graphics perform poorly in games and other graphically demanding applications.
Depending on the central processing unit, the integrated graphics may provide limited or full performance. CPUs from recent years with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics are more potent than their less expensive and less advanced predecessors, but they still can’t compare to dedicated graphics cards.
You shouldn’t have any trouble using basic photo and video editing software with your computer’s integrated graphics if it’s only a few years old, and you should be able to play low-intensity games without any problems at all. However, modern graphics-intensive games cannot be played at a smooth frame rate on systems with integrated graphics.
Trick Your PC into Thinking You Have More VRAM
Without sufficient VRAM, some games and programs may not function properly. The designers don’t want their games running poorly on PCs that aren’t up to the task, or else they’ll have to field complaints from frustrated players. However, with a simple registry trick, you can trick some games into thinking you have more video memory than you actually do, which may improve their performance.
Instructions are as follows:
- To access it, use the Start menu’s search bar or enter “regedit” in the box.
- In the Registry Editor, navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareIntel.”
- By using the right mouse button, you can make a new key labeled “GMM” (without the quotes) and then navigate to the desired location in the left-hand navigation pane.
- Choose “New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value” from the context menu that appears when you right-click the right panel.
- Give it the name “DedicatedSegmentSize,” and set its value to a Decimal number between 0 and 512.
Now that you think you’ve isolated the cause of the problem, try restarting your computer to see if the game loads or the program opens successfully.
Games, video editing, and other graphically intensive tasks rely heavily on video random access memory (VRAM). Also, it’s soldered directly onto your GPU, so you can’t increase it that way. However, you might see performance improvements by following our instructions above to make it appear as though you have more VRAM.
We have a breakdown of the distinction between RAM and VRAM in case you’re confused. You can also consult our explication of Steam’s support for various gamepads.
How do you increase VRAM on Nvidia GPUs?
Changing the amount of dedicated VRAM requires accessing the UEFI/BIOS of your motherboard.
How do you increase VRAM on AMD GPUs?
Increasing VRAM on an AMD GPU is accomplished in the same way as on an Nvidia GPU or an Intel integrated GPU. In order to change the UEFI/BIOS settings, you need only access them.
Will increasing VRAM give you more FPS?
In a nutshell, it’s game-specific. The amount of VRAM expansion also has an effect. This means you should put it to the test for yourself and give it a try.
Now You Understand Video RAM
The importance of video RAM, its recommended minimum, and how to upgrade it have all been covered here. Keep in mind that the amount of video RAM installed on your computer is only a minor factor in how fast it will perform overall. Even with plenty of video memory (VRAM), a poorly designed graphics processing unit (GPU) will struggle to keep up.
So, if you want better gaming and visual performance, you should probably start by upgrading your graphics card, processor, and/or RAM; the VRAM should fall into place after that.