Video cards depend on their RAM to function. In them, this type of graphics memory is called VRAM and performs similar functions to the computer’s DDR memory. However, it has some specificities, especially related to the speed of processing and data exchange with the rest of the system.
Although not the only ones, both the amount and speed of VRAM are good performance indicators to evaluate the capabilities of a GPU. Consequently, they can be determining factors for your PC’s performance. Below you will learn more about video card memory, how it works, and how it differs from conventional RAM in your PC.
VRAM is the type of RAM used in video cards. Like the version that is accessed by the PC processor, VRAM is connected to the graphics processor of the card and serves as a place to store important machine information.
When you run a game on your computer, all information that determines the textures of the models and objects you see in the scene is retained in VRAM. If you are playing in high resolution, such as 4K, these textures have a high-quality level and take up a lot of space. For the GPU, it would be impractical to request them from disk, even if you have a high-speed SSD. Therefore, it makes more sense to have RAM nearby so that the textures can be loaded faster and be displayed on the screen without you noticing the transition.
Another scenario for understanding VRAM is in video editing. When editing, timeline data related to the next few moments of the video you are working on is stored in RAM. The larger the VRAM space and speed, the more agile the process of editing your material will be.
VRAM vs RAM
VRAM is a type of RAM that works the same way. It offers fast access to data used during the execution of apps and, like conventional computer RAM, is reset every time the machine is turned off.
Some more technical differences are also relevant. On a video card, the data in the VRAM can be hundreds of megabytes, depending on the application. Here, however, it is not so important that the memory is quick to respond. However, it is crucial that the memory’s internal processing is fast enough to find the data and forward it to the graphics processor.
In short, if in RAM what counts is response time, in VRAM it is the brute force of intense information traffic. Today, for example, there are video cards capable of exchanging more than 900 GB per second with the graphics processor.
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Unlike the computer’s RAM, which can be replaced by buying higher capacity and faster memory sticks, the RAM of a video card is fixed. The user does not have the option to change or increase the amount of VRAM on a graphics card.
This is not a big problem. The total amount of memory is usually correctly sized by the manufacturer to meet the needs of each GPU model. Issues such as how fast VRAM can exchange data with the graphics processor – the so-called bandwidth – are even more important than the amount of space itself.
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