How Much VRAM Do You Need For Gaming? Quick Answer
Deciding on the VRAM you need will mostly depend on the type of game you play. However, if you want to go for a display with 1080p HD gaming like most people, settling for a 4GB VRAM should be enough for you. On the other hand, you may need 8GB VRAM or more if you have your eyes set on QHD and UHD resolution gaming.
Achieving a good graphics in games is a two-way thing. The game has to have high graphics quality and your gaming computer has to have the right components for the resolution you seek to achieve. Such components include the VRAM which is also known as video RAM.
A Video RAM (Video Random Access Memory) is a high-speed Dynamic RAM (DRAM) which serves to give power for your graphics. While the RAM serves as a store for data and programs, VRAM serves for image data that is displayed by the computer. Nevertheless, the Video memory makes use of much faster RAM such as the GDDR5, GDDR5X, HBM2 as well as the GDDR6 which is on its way.
Before you finally settle to find the answer to the question on how much VRAM you need for gaming, it is important to understand that while the video memory is important, the major performance of the graphics card is enhanced by the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). That being said, VRAM also plays a very important role in helping the GPU to process and render games, and its importance cannot be overstated.
How Much VRAM Do You Need For Gaming?
As earlier pointed out, the VRAM you need all depends on your gaming resolution which runs from 720p to 4K setting. Beyond just that, there are other things that consume video memory including Anti-aliasing and in-game settings. In the same way, there are some games that may have the same resolution as others but may still have a different VRAM requirement. Because of this, it is always wise that you get a little higher than the actual VRAM that you may need.
720p & 900p Gaming- 1GB to 2GB
If your game resolution setting is from 720p to 900p, what you need is a VRAM of between 1GB to 2GB. Nonetheless, getting a 2GB will be better in this case, even as your graphics card is still in the entry level.
1080p (Full HD) – 2GB to 4GB
Even with the overwhelming buzz about 4k gaming, the truth is that for some years to come, we would still be caught in the familiar web of 1080p resolution. That being said, you will need a video memory of up 4GB. Even though 2 GB can be used, it is not advisable most especially when you want to run on high graphics setting.
1440p Gaming- 4GB to 6GB
For 1440p gaming, you can get yourself a 4GB video memory on the minimum. But then, getting a 6GB memory will be safer most especially when you are looking at ultra high graphics settings with Anti-Aliasing (AA).
4K Gaming – 8GB and Above
When it comes to 4k gaming, what every gamer is looking for is the best of everything from GPU to processor, and monitor since you want the best gaming experience. Just as with other resolutions, you also need the most appropriate VRAM here. 8GB video memory should be good enough to get you running, but getting even 12GB for someone who wants more shouldn’t be bad.
What are the Factors that affect your Video Memory usage?
Even though many gamers get to think the only thing that affects the consumption of video memory is the resolution of your gaming. Nonetheless, here are the factors that affect the consumption of VRAM
You consume much more video memory as your in-game resolution goes higher since with the added pixels that higher resolution games come with, they add to the texture size which in turn will need some more video memory. That is the main reason it is easy for one to recommend a VRAM for you based on the gaming resolution you use. As a result of this, you will need less VRAM when running on 1080p than when you are running on 4K.
With improved resolution and much better graphics, we are seeing the need for anti-aliasing becoming less emphasized. Nevertheless, once you enable it, it digs a hand into the plate of your video memory because it works towards adding to your pixels since it needs to get the jagged graphics to smoothen out.
Among the types of AA are Multisample Anti-aliasing (MAA) which is popular with modern games, Fast Approximate Anti-aliasing (FXAA), and Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TXAA).
Game and Game Mods
There are some games that would consume more of your video memory compared to others because of some reasons including games that have not been well optimized. More so, AAA games that are produced recently are coming with much VRAM demands.
In addition to the game itself, any addon can also get it to take off some more video memory as well as third-party mods. Linking to the above, these mods and addons come with high resolution which as noted, is a major factor affecting VRAM usage.
What happens when you have low video Memory?
There are many frustrating things that can happen when you run short of video memory. Among them is a pop-up message that alerts you that you are running out of video memory. In some cases, the game will be forced to exit after such pop-ups.
In addition to this, you will experience texture problems such as frame delay and skipping, distorted images, and in some cases, screen tearing. In the same line, you may also find yourself experiencing stuttering of your game.
In general, you are sure to experience performance limitations since VRAM helps the GPU in delivering a smooth performance.
At the end of the day, if you are still wondering how much VRAM do you need for gaming, you will realize that there is no single answer, and just like it has been pointed a couple of times above, it all depends on the kind of gaming you play. Hence, for entry-level resolution and GPU, 2 GB video memory should be the target and for mid-range GPUs, you will do good to settle for up to 6 GB VRAM, while high-end GPUs should require 8Gb or even more as the case may be.