How much VRAM is enough for gaming?
“How much VRAM do I need for gaming in 2019?” This is the most common question comes in your mind while purchasing a new graphics card. Whenever a new GPU launched, it comes with different VRAM variants such as 2GB, 3GB, 6GB, 8GB or up to 12GB. Higher memory means a higher price. But is that video memory that much effective while gaming that it cost you extra more bucks for extra memory?
Well, VRAM has its own some types such as GDDR3, GDDR4, GDDR5, GDDR5X, etc. The NVIDIA RTX 2080ti is the latest and most powerful GPU right now, and it using 11GB GDDR6 type memory. Typically the video memory based on DDR technology.
Before dive further let’s know:
What is VRAM?
Well, VRAM is a specialized version of DRAM or dynamic RAM. As your normal system RAM helps to CPU fed with data, similarly VRAM keeps GPU fed with data it needs to render images on the monitor. The video memory used to store frame buffer, lighting information, and other game assets, etc. The VRAM section is placed right next to the GPU on the PCB. Because of that, It’s much faster to pull off the data for the GPU rather than from your system memory.
Some factor that can affect GPU VRAM directly
1. The resolution of your monitor
Most of you guys probably gaming on a full HD(1920×1080) monitor. Games are rendered at 32bit color depth. 32bit per pixel(8 bit for each red, green, blue and alpha ) on a 1920×1080 monitor so that 32 x 1920 x 1080 = 6,63,55,200 bits. So a single frame is about 8.3Mb. This 8.3 Mb image data is stored in video memory before rendering the image. As the resolution goes high the image size getting bigger.
also read: Monitor buying guide
Anti-aliasing is sort of a technique that helps to smooth out the edges of an image. The system renders more pixels to reduce the jaggedness. And this impacts quite a lot more in video memory.
3. Graphics settings of your game
All games have graphics settings you can customize as you wish. Some games come with ultra graphics and some with decent graphics. High graphics, high texture, realistic shadows, special lighting effect this all looks awesome but it also causes a higher VRAM usage. Higher the graphics setting higher the memory usage for store the data. All though you can low your settings to reduce usage.
These three are the major factor which impacts the VRAM of a GPU. But exacts how much memory is actually enough? what’s the exact amount? Well, it depends on what types of games do you play. Low poly game or any indie games such as Minecraft or Rocket league requires different requirement than a AAA title.
All the games with high graphics, high textures, details, and shadows will impact more in VRAM than some low graphics games. Back in some decades 2GB or 3GB was enough. But as the developers making these games with more and more details, the required VRAM also increasing to store high texture, shadows, etc. The games which are not well optimized are going to fill up larger VRAM.
Some myths about VRAM
- Lots of people think SLI or Cross-fire will double the amount of memory. If you put two GTX 1080 8GB in SLI, it will not gives you 16GB video memory;
- You cannot SLI with two different GPUs with different VRAM. On the other hand, AMD’s cross-fire does give some flexibility but the VRAM amount will still the same;
- More video memory means always more performance. But also not having enough memory can cause a serious frame drops and rendering issues.
Before buying any GPU keep in mind, the GPU vendors(MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte) uses some common sense to how much memory needs to put on. A high-end GPU (RTX 2080 or RTX 2080ti) that can run games at ultra settings isn’t going to come with 512Mb VRAM. Because the GPU has enough power to render those high textures and details and needs higher memory to store them.
On the other hand, there is no point, putting 3GB or 4GB VRAM on a low-end GPU. Because the GPU itself is not capable of rendering high-graphics and that much memory is kinda useless.
So, how much exact memory required for gaming? Well, there is no clear-cut answer. As I said before it depends on which games do you like to play. Do You play casual games, lightweight games that don’t require heavy GPU or you like to play AAA high graphics games with extra details? Of course, a higher VRAM and a decent powerful GPU can run almost all games but there’s also budget factor comes in.
As the gaming evolving, the developers making more such games require a better video memory. For reference, I would say right now in 2019( if you read this some years later ) 4GB-6GB VRAM graphics card will be a better choice. If you can go higher, it definitely won’t disappoint you. But if you don’t, still 4GB-6GB is well enough for the next 2-3 years.