What is graphics memory (VRAM) and how much do I need?

The graphics memory, also known as VRAM, for its acronym in English, is completely up to date again thanks to the recent statements from AMD, which stated that graphics cards with 4 GB of graphics memory are specified are no longer relevant to gaming, a confirmation that, frankly, not quite true.

It is true that more and more games require more graphics memory working in its maximum graphics configuration, but that doesn't mean we can't have a good experience with a graphics card with 4GB of memory. Every game is a world, but even in the worst case, we can play with this amount of memory without problems. 1080p and very high quality In most cases.

DOOM Eternal is undoubtedly one of the best representatives of the importance that graphic memory has gained. When we go to the Settings Configuration menu, we can see that the difference between using textures is medium quality and maximum quality an increase in consumption of more than 3 GB of graphics memory. Overwhelming, but it's normal because the graphics engine used the id Tech 7It relies heavily on the weight of the textures to shine in all its glory.

The same applies, albeit less clearly, to other titles on the Graphics engine ID Tech 6like DOOM 2016 and the last two installments of the Wolfenstein franchise. The dependency on graphics memory is so pronounced that it can not only limit the graphics configuration options if we do not reach a certain level, but can also significantly affect performance.

Does this mean that we need a graphics card with 8 GB of graphics memory in order to play under optimal conditions? Well no, although it is true that we are in a clear transition phase Xbox Series X and PS5 around the corner, and if we want to change the graphics card or mount a new PC, it's a good idea to check it out Models with at least 6 GB of graphics memory, otherwise we limit the useful life.

This simple summary has allowed us to create a small context about the current situation, but we want to help you understand it What exactly is graphics memory?why it matters and how much you really need to play safely and smoothly as the transition to the new generation of consoles takes place. Do you want to discover it? Continue reading.

What is graphics memory (VRAM) and how much do I have to play? 36

What is graphics memory and how does it work?

We can define graphics memory as a kind of specialized high-speed memory that is integrated in the form of chips on the circuit board of the graphics card and has its own data bus. In terms of gross frequency this type of memory it is much faster than conventional RAM because it reaches values ​​close to 16 GHzduring this round 5 GHz In the best case. However, both work in a similar way since the basic concept of the two is the same.

This specialization makes a very important difference in terms of performance. As we saw in the previous paragraph, the difference at the frequency level is huge because of the graphics memory it reaches three times the frequency of the memory RAMHowever, this is not all, it also has its own data bus, which in most cases is larger than that used by RAM. The operating frequency and bus determine the available bandwidth, a value that indicates the GB / s that a particular configuration can achieve.

For example, a PC with a two-channel 16 GB DDR4 RAM configuration has one 128-bit bus and an average frequency of 3.2 GHz, because modules with higher frequencies are very expensive and do not fit in the middle range. In contrast, a mid-range graphics card such as the RTX 2070 Super or the RX 5700 XT uses the GDDR6 graphics memory 14 GHz and they have a bus 256 bits.

More discreet models like the GTX 1650 Super use memory GDDR6 at 12 GHz and have a 128-bit bus, The most powerful models like the RTX 2080 Super have memory GDDR6 at 15.5 GHz and a 256-bit bus. There are also models that use other types of graphics memory, such as B. HBM, which reduces the operating frequency to values ​​between 1 GHz and 2.5 GHz, but compensates for this with a huge bus, which in some cases can reach 8,192 bits. However, these configurations are very expensive and rare.

Graphics memory

Destiny 2 with medium texture quality

Another example to understand. The RTX 2070 Super, which adds 8 GB 14 GHz GDDR6 on a 256-bit bus, has a bandwidth of 448 GB / sThe Radeon VII with 16 GB 2 GHz HBM2 memory and a 4,096 bit bus has a bandwidth of 1,024 GB / s. Bandwidth determines storage performance, but the amount available is just as important because if we don't reach the minimum that each game needs, we'll have problems. We'll cover this topic later.

Graphics memory integrated (welded) on the graphics card we cannot expand it. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the model that we are going to buy has the amount necessary to meet our needs. for a reasonable period of time.

In order to understand the work of the graphics memory, it is advisable to compare it with the RAM memory, as this will give you a clearer and easier to assimilate view. RAM aims store instructions, applications and system processes executed by the processor, but you may need that again sometime. If memory is very slow, the processor may be slightly idle while waiting to perform the required operations. If the amount is insufficient, the waiting time is longer because not all the necessary data and instructions can be stored. RAM loading and unloading cycles occur relatively frequently.

Graphics memory

Destiny 2 with top quality and 200% super sampling

The same thing happens with the graphics memory, only that it is used by the GPU. That kind of memory saves various elements that are linked to graphic works specific and essential for the GPU, like textures and various effects. If it is very slow, the GPU will also face delays, and if we do not have enough, we will have performance problems that can manifest in very different ways, although the most common problems are late popping, frame desynchronization and performance degradation .

Graphics memory is used not only when we run a game, but also an important resource used by the operating system for basic things like maintaining screen resolution and color depth, and running various applications and programs, including pictures and videos. Perhaps some of our readers will remember the time when we could only achieve 1,024 x 768 pixels with 256 colors with 1 MB of graphics memory.

How much graphics memory do I have to play?

It is an excellent question and we will help you to clarify it. First, keep in mind that speed is also very important. Fortunately, the big names in the industry, Intel and AMD, have given up graphics memory chips based on almost entirely outdated and very slow standards (GDDR3 and GDDR4), but the data bus can be a problem.

Today, the binomial is the minimum to enjoy an acceptable experience 7 GHz GDDR5 and a 128-bit bus, although the ideal is to choose storage solutions 8 GHz GDDR5 and a 256-bit bus. For example, the GTX 1050 Ti fulfills the first stage, while the GTX 1070 and the RX 590 easily pass the second stage.

With that clarity, we're ready to discuss how much graphics memory we really need to play. Every game has specific requirements We have no choice but to leave you with a series of average recommendations based on an average balance of the requirements of current games. However, we will include important nuances at each level to complete the information and help you get it right.

  • 900p and lower resolution: With 2 GB of GDDR5 graphics memory, we have more than enough.
  • 1080p resolution: With 3 GB of GDDR5 memory, we can easily play in high or very high qualities, although in some cases we have to adjust the quality of the textures to medium levels. It is ideal to have at least 4 GB of graphics memory. However, in order to play some tracks in maximum quality, we need 6 GB of GDDR5 memory.
  • 1440p resolution: From 4 GB of GDDR5 memory, we can easily play almost any current game with high quality, but the ideal is to have 6 GB. If we want to ensure a good long-term experience, 8 GB is essential.
  • Resolution 2160p: It is advisable to have 8 GB of graphics memory, although this amount is no longer an absolute guarantee that we can bring everything to its maximum in the medium and long term.

Let's look at a few examples to better understand what we showed above. If you want to play at 1,600 x 900 pixels, a GTX 1050 with 2 GB of graphics memory is sufficient in most cases. On the other hand, if you play with a 3 GB GTX 1060 or a GTX 970 in 1080p, you can do so. Enjoy a good experience, but have models with more graphics memory and more power, like the 6 GB GTX 1060 or the 8 GB RX 580 a much longer life cycle.

In 1440p resolutions a RTX 2060 with 6 GB or a Radeon RX 5600 XT with 6 GB They will allow us to have a good experience, but if we want to ensure a good life cycle again, we need to look for 8GB models, such as RTX 2060 Super or RX 5700. Finally, if we want to play 4K RTX 2070 Super and RX 5700 XT with 8 GB of graphics memory fall below the recommended minimum.

If your graphics card doesn't have enough graphics memory and you're having trouble enjoying your favorite games but can't upgrade to a higher model, don't worry. In this article you will find all the information you need Reduce graphics memory usage in games.

Please note that some games, such as Resident Evil 2 Remake and Resident Evil 3 Remake, exaggerate graphics memory and show consumption excessive and unreal values. When configured with maximum quality, the 10 GB graphics memory can be easily overcome. In this case, we get a warning and a red indicator, but we don't have to worry. If our graphics card has a minimal performance, we can play without any problems.

Do you have any doubts well calm down You can leave them in the comments and we will be happy to help you.

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