The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is a crucial component that defines the graphics performance of a machine. It is responsible for the displaying or rendering of images on a computer’s screen.
If your PC is equipped with a first-class or top-end chip, you get to play games smoothly at high settings and enjoy perfect rendering of video in the programs you run. Unsurprisingly, users with budget- or entry-level GPUs have things worse (low FPS, stuttering video, and so on).
The GPU as a term is often used interchangeably with “graphics card”. Fortunately, we are not concerned with the technicality of both terms for now. A related term is of greater importance here.
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What is Video RAM?
Video RAM (sometimes referred to as VRAM) slightly differs from the typical “RAM” (Random Access Memory) or “Temporary memory” terms you are used to. It is basically a special kind of memory; the one that works with the Graphics Processing Unit of a computer.
What is dedicated Video RAM used for?
The video RAM is designed to hold the information the GPU uses. The details in view range from game textures to lightning effects. With the VRAM acting as a useful clog in the graphics processing setup, the GPU can access the needed information quickly and output video instantly onto the screen.
Your system RAM, in theory, could also do what your VRAM does. For all intents and purposes, though, the approach involving the VRAM is a lot more practical, since the video RAM is fused into the graphics card (it sits as close as possible to the GPU).
VRAM is very good at handling graphics intensive or demanding video tasks, because they are constructed for pretty much this purpose, unlike the typical RAM. They are dedicated (to their job) after all.
How much VRAM do I need?
Since people often do different things on Windows, it is easy to see that no specific amount of VRAM will be ideal for everyone. Based on what you do, however, we can recommend a range of Video RAM sizes you should be fine with most of the time.
- 1-2GB of VRAM (entry-level sizes):
Only cheap dedicated graphics cards come with 1-2GB of VRAM. Since they are dedicated, they still manage to offer better performance than integrated graphics (given the same conditions or variables). Nevertheless, we have to point out the fact that they are unable to handle a vast majority of modern games at Medium or High settings.
If you do not plan to play the latest titles, then cards with the stated range of VRAM might serve you well enough. You will not get much joy from trying to use them for video editing or similar tasks, though.
- 3-6GB of VRAM (mid-level sizes):
GPUs with these amounts of VRAM are more often than not good enough for moderate gaming or performing graphics-demanding tasks (video editing, for example) at a decent level. As long as you avoid using the highest settings or maximum configuration options available, you should have no issues in general.
You might even manage to run some games smoothly at 1080p. If you have a tight budget, then a card with 4GB VRAM should be enough. Well, if you have more cash to spend, you will do well to consider one with 6GB of VRAM since it is future-proof to an extent.
- 8GB of VRAM (top-of-the-line sizes):
Serious gamers typically use cards that provide 8GB of VRAM or above. It is not hard to figure out why. To play the latest games at 4K resolution, only cards with this size of VRAM will do. With this amount of VRAM, you can do basically anything without restrictions on settings, quality, and so on.
You can run your games at High or Max settings without having to compromise too much on FPS, you can perform the most demanding or advanced tasks in Photoshop without long waits or pauses, and so on.
Nevertheless, it is important you realize that everything we have said in regards to the size of VRAM is based on generalizations, which hold water only in rare scenarios.
Cheap cards generally have a small amount of VRAM while expensive cards are equipped with top-of-the-line sizes.
Manufacturers will not equip a weak GPU with 8GB of video RAM, as the card probably lacks the power to render a video that uses up that amount of storage space. Sometimes, things are this simple.
You must also understand that bigger does not always imply better in the case with Video RAM. If you use a PC equipped with 4GB of VRAM to play a game that requires just 2GB of VRAM, you will not experience noticeable changes from running the same game with 8GB of VRAM.
A problem arises only when the VRAM is insufficient, in which case, the system is forced to use the regular RAM, and drops in performance are merely the consequence of this event.
You must also not forget that the VRAM size is just one of the factors that affect your PC’s performance. Other variables (like your CPU’s speed or capabilities, the size of your system’s RAM and its speed) also matter.
What kind of tasks or operations make use of Video RAM?
Here, we are referring to the processes where a considerable amount of VRAM is reported as being in use. We cannot gain much from declaring the numbers involved; we have to go through the specific details on what aspects of games or the procedures in graphics-intensive applications require the most amount of VRAM.
To begin, we have to consider the resolution of the monitor involved in displaying things. As a rule, the higher the resolution, the more the VRAM required. For example, a 4K display (commonly offered in gaming) uses up a considerable amount of VRAM, since a large number of pixels is needed to display such high-resolution images.
Video RAM more or less stores the frame buffer (the temporary storage location for your images before they appear on your screen and during their appearance). If the images involved are very bulky (or if there are many pixels in use), a considerable amount of RAM space is required and vice versa.
Besides the display resolution, there are other parameters to consider when accounting for the VRAM being used. The texture in the game you play is one important variable, for example. Most games provide options that allow you to increase or decrease the quality of textures.
Basically, you can alter the settings until you find the balance between performance and visual quality.
If you want the game to play as smoothly as possible, then the low settings option or reduced graphics configuration should help. On the other hand, if you choose to go with the maximum settings or demanding configuration, your gameplay will suffer (drops in FPS).
If you use an integrated card, for example, you might be able to play a reasonable number of games at Low or Medium settings. If the games are ancient, you might even be able to play them at the High or Ultra, since the graphics demands for games were probably a lot lower many years ago.
We also know of beautification features like anti-aliasing (used to smooth out jagged edges, points, or corners in modern games). If this particular feature is turned on, more VRAM will be used due to the extra pixels that come into play.
Different games require varying amount of VRAM. Simple board games do not demand much, but adventure-themed titles understandably need more resources than the regular games.
If you play games or display things on multiple monitors, you must understand that you are performing a video or graphics-intensive task. Windows uses up more VRAM or system resources to show images on two screens at once.
To be fair, gaming is not the only activity where the amount of VRAM you have becomes something significant. Some popular programs are known to demand a fair amount of VRAM regardless of them being games or not. We are referring to software like Adobe Photoshop, AutoCAD, and so on.
If you engage in 3D designing in AutoCAD or do some intense editing in Photoshop, you might experience slowdowns or lags due to insufficient VRAM.
Can I increase my dedicated Video RAM?
Yes, you might be able to (if the conditions are right).
Well, if you are searching for answers to a question like this, there is a good chance you encountered an error related to the dedicated VRAM on your computer. Perhaps, you could not get your PC to run graphics-intensive programs or applications due to insufficient Video RAM.
Now, you must understand that the best or most effective way of increasing your dedicated Video RAM requires you to purchase a new graphics card. By this, we mean you must replace your GPU with a more modern, faster or more powerful component.
This way, your computer’s graphics capabilities will get a significant boost, some of which might even translate to overall improvements in the performance of your PC (if your CPU and RAM can support and sustain the gains).
Unfortunately, graphics cards are costly (especially the latest ones, since you are on the lookout for upgrades). We know of other means by which you might be able to increase the VRAM of your GPU.
The obtainable results do not always play out in real terms, though. Some methods might help you fake an increase in the amount of VRAM available, and in scenarios where a game is refusing to run because your PC falls short of a specific VRAM size, this deception might do enough to deliver the result you want.
How to check the amount of VRAM you have?
Of course, before you begin attempting operations in a bid to increase your RAM, it is crucial you know the exact amount of Video RAM your PC currently has. We have compiled some instructions you must go through to see the necessary information.
- First, you have to launch the Run app. You can do this by pressing (and holding) the Windows button on your keyboard, then giving the letter R key a tap.
Once you have the small Run program window up and running, you must type in the following code into the text box present: ms-settings:easeofaccess-display
Hit the Enter key. Windows will run the code, and a menu in the Settings program window will show up.
- Click on Advanced display settings. Now, click on the Display adapter settings for Display 1.
A new program window will come up now. There, you should see the VRAM count listed beside the Dedicated Video Memory (under the Adapter Information menu).
Under the Adapter Type field or menu, Windows will display the name and model of the graphics card your device employs. If you see a single graphics card (usually AMD Accelerated Processing Unit or Intel HD Graphics), your PC is most likely equipped with only integrated graphics.
Note that on some computers, Windows might display only the memory size for the integrated chip, even if the devices are equipped with dedicated cards.
To force your system to display the required information for the dedicated VRAM, you must perform a graphics intensive task (to trigger the use of the dedicated GPU), then check again.
Otherwise (if the above methods fail), you must find out the size of your Video RAM by navigating through the necessary options or menu in your dedicated GPU utility. For example, if your PC has an NVIDIA card, you have to launch and check the NVIDIA control panel app.
How to increase your VRAM through the BIOS?
If you insist on increasing your VRAM, we recommend you go through this approach. It is not without its risks, though. There is also no guarantee that the operations involved apply to your motherboard type.
Nevertheless, the overall risks are minimal when compared to other means by which you can achieve the same result. Also, the vast majority of motherboard manufacturers often include an option (or backdoor at worst) that allows users to manipulate the amount of memory allocated to the VRAM.
We have prepared a short guide you must go through carefully to increase your dedicated Video RAM:
- First, you have to restart your PC and enter its BIOS or configuration menu at the next startup. Typically, you have to press a button early when your device boots up to get to your destination.
The button to be pressed (or the dedicated BIOS key) varies per PC manufacturer or machine model. In most cases, you have to press the key repeatedly to have any chance of success. The F2, F5, F8 or Del keys are the most common buttons, so you might want to try them out.
If nothing works, you have to search online for the correct key or find out the specific steps on entering your BIOS menu with respect to your PC model or computer manufacturer.
- At this point, we expect you to have reached your BIOS menu. There, you must check for Graphics Settings, Video Settings, VGA Share Memory Size or any other similar parameter. If you see an Advanced menu, please take a look at it.
- At this stage, you have to select a new value for the pre-allocated VRAM (Go with a figure higher than the default selection). Save the configuration.
Note: If you find out that your PC is already using the maximum pre-allocated VRAM, then this method of increasing the VRAM is not applicable in your case.
- Exit the BIOS menu and restart your PC. After your computer boots up and Windows settles down, you check if the VRAM count has changed. Go through the instructions we provided earlier on how to check the amount of VRAM.
How to increase the VRAM on Windows 10 through the Registry Editor?
Now, it is time you understood that most systems with integrated graphics cards hardly ever report the correct amount of VRAM available. You might have seen a specific value in the Adapter Properties window when you tried to find out how much VRAM your computer has, but the actual figure often changes.
In theory, Windows works to adjust the amount of VRAM based on the demands of games or applications you run.
If you play games often, then you must be familiar with the requirements associated with some titles. A reasonable number of games (after you download and run them) check your computer’s VRAM size. Some games might detect the correct value while others might not.
Some games might refuse to initialize or let you play them if they detect that your PC falls short of the stated requirements (the specified VRAM, for example).
You probably believe those titles were too quick to pass judgment. Perhaps, you think that your system might end up running the games decently enough for you to enjoy them. All will be revealed soon enough.
The fake VRAM increase (achieved through operations carried out in the Registry Editor) is ideal, given the events we just described and the conditions involved.
Before you begin, we advise that you back up the contents of your registry. If things go wrong (which they could, if you are not careful enough), you will only have yourself to blame if there is no backup to fall back on.
We would like you to assume your PC is equipped with an Intel processor, and this means your system uses an integrated Intel GPU. If these things hold true, you can follow these instructions:
- First, you have to launch the Run app. We provided you with a quick way of doing this earlier, so we can continue without having to repeat ourselves here.
This time, once the small Run program window shows up, you must input the following code into the text box present: regedit
- Hit the Enter button, Windows will proceed to run the code. It will launch the Registry Editor app. There, on the program window, starting from the list of items you see on the left pane, you must navigate through the following directories: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Intel
- Now, in your current location, you must right-click on the Intel key, select New and input GMN into the text field for name. After you finish creating the GMN folder, you must click or double-click on it to see its contents (empty).
- On the right pane (under the GMN key), right-click on any spot free of icons or objects, click on New, then click on DWORD (32-bit) Value. The name of this new value should be DedicatedSegmentSize
- Furthermore, you must click on the radio button for Decimal to select it, then input a figure you like to increase the VRAM to.
Note: The inputted figure must be an integer between 0 and 512 as these are the minimum and maximum values allowed in megabytes.
- Click on the OK button once you are done making all the necessary changes. You are now free to close the Registry Editor program window and terminate any other program you have running. Restart your PC.
- After Windows settles down, you must check if your system now has more VRAM. If you were struggling with a game or an app earlier due to the minimum VRAM requirement issue, you can reopen the program involved and see if you can now run it without problems.
You ended up on this page to find out how to improve the graphics capabilities of your PC by increasing the size of the VRAM available for use on your computer. To this end, we believe you might be interested in carrying out operations to boost your system’s overall performance. Using the best techniques, Auslogics BoostSpeed will help you execute the most effective procedures of the lot in no time.