What is VRAM? Video RAM Explained

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One of the most highlighted features of a Graphics Card is its VRAM. For Example, GTX 1060 comes in two variants, GTX 1060 3 GB VRAM variant and the GTX 1060 6 GB VRAM variant.

Have you guys ever heard about VRAM? Many of you must have known about RAM (Random Access Memory) but not VRAM. Understanding VRAM can be confusing, so we have tried to simplify the concept of VRAM by explaining How VRAM works, why it’s important and does VRAM affects your gaming performance?

What is Video Random Access Memory (VRAM)?

VRAM stands for Video RAM or Video Random Access Memory. Let us try to explain this to you in a simple way.

What-is-vram

RAM (Random Access Memory) is responsible for faster loading of programs and quick operations. Similarly, VRAM enhances the graphics of the system. VRAM stores the data of all the images and videos that computer shows. It can be said that it’s a buffer between the CPU and the video card. Originally, it was developed as a high-resolution graphics adapter. It is the general tendency of computer systems that the higher its video memory, the faster and the better graphics it will display.

Looking at the history of VRAM, It was first created in 1980 and was introduced by IBM in the market in the year 1986. The idea was to high-speed graphics at a lesser cost. VRAM is often known as Frame Buffer.

How Does Video RAM Work?

Before an image is displayed on a computer screen, first the processor reads it and then written to the VRAM. Then the image data is converted into analog signals with the help of RAMDAC (RAM Digital to Analog Converter) which is used to display the image on the computer screen. This whole process of reading and writing of image data happens in less than a second that we can’t notice it. VRAM chips have 2 ports. Due to dual-port, when the VRAM reads the image, the processor can write another image to the VRAM. This not only speeds up the whole process but also prevents flickering of images.

Why VRAM is Important?

From realistic graphics display, sound effects, and fluid simulations, the processing of graphics is quite important for assessing the overall performance of your PC, especially for gamers. VRAM is directly related to the graphics performance of your PC in terms of displaying images and videos which should be superb if one wants to play games on PC or watching movies and videos.

VRAM is a very important piece of hardware when it comes to image processing and its quality. For playing high-resolution games on your PC, it needs a good VRAM installed on your system. If the system does not have a sufficient amount of VRAM, the textures and images you are trying to load can cause GPU to overflow on the system’s RAM. And when the GPU sends excess data to RAM, your gaming and visual performance will be adversely affected.

Types of Video RAM (VRAM)

Since every computer system and the user has its own set of requirements for daily activities, there are different types of RAM available. You can make a choice of the amount of VRAM level based on your gaming needs. Below is the list of VRAM levels.

Synchronous Graphics Random Access Memory (SGRAM)

It is a clock-synchronized RAM that makes use of masked write to modify the data in only one operation rather than a series of operations like read, write, and update. It is low in cost. 

Multibank Dynamic Random Access Memory (MDRAM)

This VRAM divides the Dynamic Random Access Memory into small parts called ‘Banks’. These banks can be accessed individually. It is helpful in raising the level of overall performance. It is relatively cheaper than other VRAM types.

Window Random Access Memory (WRAM)

Although its name is Window RAM, it is not at all related to Microsoft. It is usually preferred by users who need high-performance video RAM. WRAM is dual-ported and offers 25% greater bandwidth than other VRAM. It’s an affordable option.

Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory (RDRAM)

This level of VRAM is designed for the transfer of data at high rates. It consists of RAM, controller, and a bus path which is used for connecting the RAM with Microprocessors. It is faster than other levels of RAM. RDRAM is also popularly known as Rambus or Direct RDRAM.

The Difference Between VRAM And RAM

For indicating general computer memory, the term used is RAM i.e. Random Access Memory. This includes both VRAM and SDRAM. However, in general sense, RAM is SDRAM. It is plugged into the motherboard of the computer.

RAM is responsible for loading the operating system of computers and runs various programs. VRAM is not much different from RAM. The only major difference between the two is VRAM is devised for improving the quality of the graphics (Images and Videos).

If your PC has more amount of VRAM, it will be faster and quick in processing and hence increase the frame-rate, rendering, and emulation. 

How To Check Dedicated Video RAM?

There are two ways to find out how much VRAM does your video card has. This helps you to match up the VRAM with your requirements as we have seen above that there are different types of VRAM levels.

Method 1 – Using CPU-Z

CPU-Z is a tool available for both Windows and Android system which can tell you everything you like to know about the amount of RAM, GPU, and related information.

  • Download CPU-Z. Here is the link.
  • Install the utility downloaded.
  • Open it.
  • You will see different tabs in a small window that opens on your PC screen.
  • Click on the “Graphics” tab.
How-To-Check-Dedicated-Video-RAM
How To Check Video RAM Using CPUZ
  • Go to the Memory section’
  • There you can see the size of VRAM and the Bus width also.

Method 2 – Display Settings

If you have upgraded to Windows 10 OS, the following steps can also take you to know the details about VRAM on your PC.

  • Press Windows + R on your PC.
  • This will open the ‘Run’ dialog box.
  • Copy-paste this command in the Run box – “ms-settings:easeofaccess-display” 
  • Press enter
  • It opens the ‘Display’ tab in the settings application.
  • Go to “Additional display settings” and further click on “Advanced display settings.”
How To Check Video RAM Using Display Adapter
How To Check Video RAM Using Display Adapter
  • Then click on ‘Display adapter properties for Display 1’.
  • Under the column ‘Adapter information’ you can check all the details of dedicated video memory and other details.

Is Video RAM (VRAM) Important?

Yes, it is important for various multimedia functions of the system. Besides that, it is mostly used for gaming purposes. For having a playable experience on your PC, you should have a dedicated Video RAM. Most of the times the more VRAM the graphics card has the more powerful it is. Although VRAM shouldn’t be the only thing you should consider while buying a graphics card, Boost Clock speed is equally important as well.

Final Thoughts

PCs are no more limited to computing usage. Now, it can serve you as a PlayStation too, where high-performing graphic cards enable you to play and enjoy the game you want.

VRAM is a hot topic these days and most of our readers wanted to know about it. We hope that all your questions will be answered regarding VRAM. If not, don’t hesitate to further write to us in the comment box and we will get back to you with the required information.

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