In a computer, system memory or RAM is a form of temporary storage. Your processor (processor) will be able to quickly access data when it is needed to process your workloads. The system’s RAM modules can be easily changed or upgraded.
- How Much VRAM Do I Need For Gaming (At 1080P, 1440P, 4K)
- Which factors affect the video ram?
- How much VRAM do You need? An Overview.
- What is VRAM?
- How Does VRAM Affect Your PC’s Performance?
- Does Your Resolution Require VRAM?
- Do Games Utilize VRAM?
- How Gaming Graphics Affect VRAM
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- In-Game Settings Can Make A World Of Difference
- Your Preferred Game Settings Should Ultimately Guide Your VRAM Decision
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- VRAM’s Resolution Impact: How to track it?
- How Will Your Games Affect Your VRAM?
- Resolution Greatly Affects VRAM Usage
- The Games You Play Decide How Much VRAM You Need
How Much VRAM Do I Need For Gaming (At 1080P, 1440P, 4K)
The amount of VRAM (video random access memory) you need depends on several factors. In this guide, we’ll tell you what those factors are and explain what video memory actually is and how much you need, depending on the games you’re playing, at what resolution and settings.
In short, the way RAM in a computer provides quick access to critical data to run processes is in VRAM. It gives your GPU quick access to the data needed to run graphics processes.
Since VRAM can be found on the graphics card, it can access the data stored on it much faster than the graphics processor, not when the graphics processor tries to retrieve the same data from the system memory or SSD / HDD in your computer.
Unlike RAM, it is no longer possible to add more video memory to your system or graphics card. Finally, VRAM is integrated directly into the graphics cards. The amount of your graphics card is also the amount of video RAM your GPU and system are using – at least until SiVRAM e upgrades your graphics card.
Which factors affect the video ram?
The more video memory you have, the more graphics data your GPU can get quickly and the faster frames can be transferred to the monitor.
Depending on how you use your computer, your system may require more or less video RAM. Here are the most common factors that have the greatest impact on the amount of VRAM needed:
- Your monitor’s resolution
- The games you’ve played
- The settings you play your games with
Let’s take a closer look at these three factors:
Since VRAM is soldered directly to the GPU PCB (circuit board), increasing the VRAM is impossible. However, you may still be able to combine GPU memory if your software supports features like Nvidia’s NVLink.
How much VRAM do You need? An Overview.
For those looking for only short data, we present our table that summarizes the VRAM capacity requirements for various popular workloads.
Please continue reading for details on how we got these numbers.
|Workload||VRAM is recommended|
|3D modeling, animation and CPU / GPU rendering||Modeling and animation (active loads)||6 – 8 GB of GDDR6 memory||8 – 10 GB GDDR6 / 6X||10 + GB GDDR6 / 6X|
|CPU rendering (passive workloads)||6 – 8 GB GDDR6 / 6X||6 – 8 GB GDDR6 / 6X||6 – 8 GB GDDR6 / 6X|
|GPU rendering (passive workloads)||6 – 8 GB GDDR6 / 6X||8-16 GB GDDR6 / 6X||24 + GB GDDR6 / 6X / HBM2|
|Video editing, motion design, composing||General video editing||4 – 6 GB GDDR6 / 5X / 5||6 – 8 GB GDDR6 / 5X / 5||6 – 8 GB GDDR6 / 5X / 5|
|Video editing with heavy GPU support like Davinci Resolve||6 – 8 GB GDDR6 / 5X / 5||8-16 GB of GDDR6 memory||16-24 GB GDDR6 / 6X|
|Traffic design and composting||6 – 8 GB GDDR6 / 5X / 5||8-10 GB of GDDR6 memory||10-24 GB of GDDR6 / 6X memory|
|Graphic design||4 – 6 GB GDDR6 / 5X / 5||4 – 6 GB GDDR6 / 5X / 5||6 – 8 GB GDDR6 / 5X / 5|
|Gambling||1080p||4 – 6 GB GDDR6 / 5X / 5||4 – 6 GB GDDR6 / 5X / 5||4 – 6 GB of GDDR6 memory|
|1440 pence||6 – 8 GB GDDR6 / 5X / 5||6 – 8 GB GDDR6 / 5X / 5||6 – 8 GB of GDDR6 memory|
|4K||6 – 8 GB of GDDR6 memory||8 – 10 GB GDDR6 / 6X||10 + GB GDDR6 / 6X|
What is VRAM?
VRAM stands for Random Access Video Memory and serves as fast, temporary storage for the graphics processor on the graphics card.
Before the GPU can process a single frame or a specific scene, VRAM stores textures, models, geometries, and lighting maps, which the GPU then uses to render that particular frame.
After rendering is complete, the graphics card stores the result in VRAM as a frame buffer, which is then sent to the video display to display the final image on the monitor.
When we talk about rendering, it simply means processing (the math) of a graphical computation that, when combined, produces a visual end result.
So the GPU really only does a few calculations on the data stored in the VRAM.
Simplified example: To render (create) a visual image in a computer game or 3D rendering software that can then be displayed on a monitor, here’s what happens:
- Scene data (textures, polygons, animations, lights…) is loaded from the mass memory into the VRAM of your GPU.
- The GPU passes rays through each pixel
- When a ray hits a surface, the GPU checks what polygons, highlights, and textures are associated with that pixel. This data resides in the VRAM.
- When the GPU has finished checking all pixels of that frame, the frame is complete and can be rewritten to VRAM
- The finished frame is displayed on the monitor (or saved to disk)
So why does VRAM need to be soldered to the GPU? Can’t we just create a GPU VRAM slot where we can swap RAM modules like you do with system RAM on your motherboard?
How Does VRAM Affect Your PC’s Performance?
Unlike system memory – which affects most applications on your computer – VRAM only comes into play when your computer is performing graphically demanding tasks. That being said, it still plays a major role in the way your computer works, especially when it comes to gaming.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the three main areas where VRAM makes a big difference.
Does Your Resolution Require VRAM?
The short answer is yes, absolutely. To keep it as simple as possible, the higher the resolution, the more VRAM your graphics card needs. The main reason for this is that the GPU has to physically render more individual pixels using screen resolution – which requires access to more data at any given time.
Below are the most popular screen resolutions – ordered by the number of pixels displayed, from lowest to highest:
- 720p (1280 x 720)
- 1080p (1920 x 1080)
- 1440p (2560 x 1440)
- 4K (3840 × 2160)
4K is currently the most demanding mainstream resolution used in modern games. It is much more demanding than 1440p and 1080p, providing extra clarity that cannot be reproduced at lower resolutions.
That said, it requires a lot of VRAM to run a game in 4K smoothly. As we’ll find out soon, only the top-tier GPUs have brutal performance requirements to run games at this screen resolution.
Do Games Utilize VRAM?
If the last resolution section didn’t answer that question, yes, the games use VRAM. In the same way that more demanding resolutions require more VRAM, the same can be said for more graphically demanding games.
For example, if you play titles like Fortnite and CS: GO, you probably won’t need a lot of VRAM. On the other hand, if you’re playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider or Red Dead Redemption 2, two extremely demanding games, you’ll need a graphics card with much more VRAM.
The latter of the two games is packed with dense scenery and advanced landscapes that require a lot of graphics power (including VRAM) to run smoothly. The previous two games are extremely simple and require half the GPU power to run at high FPS.
How Gaming Graphics Affect VRAM
As we mentioned above, we already know that overall graphics quality plays a major role in the amount of VRAM needed. However, we didn’t mention how the gaming graphics you chose to use could impact your VRAM requirements.
Basically, if you plan on running your games at high settings and resolutions, you’ll be putting more pressure on your GPU. Each frame rendered by GPU with higher settings will use more VRAM than with lower settings.
While this isn’t the only factor that affects the FPS your GPU generates, it is definitely something to consider before your next GPU purchase.
If you have a low framerate, simply lower the game settings until you reach a point where the framerate stabilizes.
Running multiple GPUs can significantly speed up some of the specific workloads found in 3D rendering and video editing. However, the available VRAM does not connect to the added graphics processors.
All in all, 4GB is the absolute minimum for playing 1080p in 2022, while 6-8GB should be the target for most people looking to run games in 1440p or 4K, or just for those looking for something a bit more future-proof.
However, these are only generalizations. The processing power of the GPU is much more important when choosing the perfect graphics card.
That said, if you’re purchasing a new GPU, it’s best to check out our pick of the best graphics cards in 2022.
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Of course, there are other options as well. For example, the GTX 1660 Super comes with 6 GB of VRAM, while some high-end models such as the GTX 1080 Ti and RTX 2080 Ti have a whopping 11 GB.
In-Game Settings Can Make A World Of Difference
Fortunately for gamers, modern games offer more and more graphics settings that allow you to fine-tune and optimize the performance of your graphics card. Understandably, this means you’ll have to sacrifice some of the more spectacular visuals for better FPS. Unfortunately, this is a compromise that will have to be made.
One of the key settings you may want to adjust is anti-aliasing, which is used to remove jagged edges around textures. It does this by taking a photo and smoothing out any disturbing pixels. The more samples you use, the greater the load on VRAM.
The texture quality setting plays a big role in your VRAM needs. If you are experiencing stuttering in games, this could be a good option to tweak and see how it is affecting your computer’s performance.
Your Preferred Game Settings Should Ultimately Guide Your VRAM Decision
Hopefully this conclusion will be obvious at this point, but it’s worth emphasizing anyway.
If you want to play modern games in 4K resolution, it’s better to have a graphics processor with at least 8 GB of VRAM. Below is a quick rundown of what you’ll need depending on the resolution you’re playing in.
Note that these numbers are not entirely VRAM dependent, and that performance gains (or drops) may also be caused by modifying other settings.
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The games use 32-bit color, which means 32 bits will be displayed per pixel. This means that if you are playing the game in 1080p, the memory required for storing a single image will be around 8.3MB.
VRAM’s Resolution Impact: How to track it?
A higher resolution monitor uses more VRAM to process a single frame. A single 1920 x 1080 (1080P) frame will display in a smaller space than a single 2560 x 1440 (1440P) frame. The 2560 x 1440 frame size also takes up less space than the 3840 x 2160 (4K) frame size).
As a result, more VRAM will be used to play on a 4K monitor than play on a 1080P monitor, you can also read Best White Gaming Motherboards
How Will Your Games Affect Your VRAM?
In the same way that a higher resolution monitor uses more VRAM, a more detailed and graphically intensive game uses more VRAM.
Compared to Middle Earth: Shadow of War and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, Team Fortress 2 and Minecraft require less memory. By comparison, these later games offer much more advanced scenery and graphics.
In other words, better graphics just mean more data. In a game with more art, this is represented by a single frame. In a less demanding game, the frame will not contain as much data to be processed.
Consequently, games like Minecraft lack detail. Even at high resolutions, it doesn’t use up a lot of VRAM compared to other games like Shadow of War.
Now that most of the latest graphics cards come with 8GB of GDDR6 RAM, you hardly have to worry about lowering specific graphics settings to free up VRAM.
Resolution Greatly Affects VRAM Usage
The first and biggest factor in determining the amount of VRAM you need is resolution. Higher resolutions require significantly more VRAM to achieve the same performance. This is because the number of pixels on the screen increases exponentially between resolutions; 4K resolution has twice as many pixels to capture as 1080p resolution. For VRAM, this drastically increases the amount of memory occupied by each frame on the card. If you’ve ever experienced lag in the game and downgraded your resolution beforehand, you’ve likely noticed an immediate performance boost.
Each frame during the game must be processed and pushed in the set resolution. Most monitors have a resolution of 1080p, 1440p or 4k. If you’re interested in playing at such high resolutions, you’ll need enough VRAM to handle the same number of frames. 8 GB of VRAM is quickly becoming the minimum for AAA games at 4K resolution, while increasing to 12 GB for higher frame rates.
The Games You Play Decide How Much VRAM You Need
The amount of VRAM you need depends on several factors. When looking for a new card or checking if your system is ready for snuff, always assume that the more the better. However, you can still be reasonable – if you’re comfortable playing 1080p, you don’t need to show off the RTX 3080.
Refer to the list above to find the resolution that best suits your gaming needs. Remember that your resolution, game, and in-game settings have a huge impact on the amount of VRAM you need. If your budget allows it, go higher.
Securing expensive hardware like GPUs and CPUs in the future is a good idea, especially considering how fast game demands can grow. Given their price in the current market, we recommend starting with a minimum of 4GB of VRAM and moving from there. 8 GB of VRAM is the perfect solution for new builders. This will allow you to play modern games at maximum settings – a performance that will likely carry over to the next generation of titles as well.