Are you seeing errors due to your Windows PC’s dedicated video RAM? Having trouble running graphic-intensive programs such as video editors or new video games? You might need more video RAM (VRAM).
What is VRAM and how do you increase it? For all the details about video RAM in Windows 10, and 11, read on.
What is Dedicated Video RAM (VRAM), and How Does It Work?
Video RAM, also known as VRAM (pronounced “VEE-ram”), is a special RAM type that works with your GPU or graphics processing unit.
The GPU (or graphics card) is the chip in your computer that displays images on your screen. Although technically incorrect, the terms GPU or graphics cards are often interchangeable.
Video RAM stores information the GPU requires, such as game textures and lighting effects. This allows the GPU to access the information quickly and to output video to your monitor.
Video RAM can be used for this task faster than your system RAM because it is directly next to your graphics card’s GPU. VRAM was designed for high-intensity tasks and is, therefore “dedicated.”
How to check your VRAM in Windows 10 or Windows 11
These steps will allow you to easily check how much video RAM Windows 10 has.
- By pressing Win+ I, you can open the Settings Menu.
- Click on the Entry, then click Show in the left sidebar.
- Scroll down to the Advanced Display Settings Text at the Bottom.
- Select the monitor that you wish to see settings for. Next, click the Display adapter property text.
- You’ll find your current video RAM next to Dedicated Memory in a new window.
This menu can be found on Windows 11 at Settings > Display > Advanced display. Select a display, then click the Display adapter property.
Adapter Typ will show you the name of your AMD or Nvidia graphics card depending on which device you have. If you see Intel HD Graphics, or AMD Accelerated Process Unit (more likely), it means that you are using an integrated graphic. This topic is covered in more detail below.
How to Increase VRAM
A new or improved graphics card is the best way to increase video RAM. You can improve your video output by upgrading to a dedicated graphics card, even if you are using integrated graphics.
If this is not an option (e.g. laptops), there are two options to increase your VRAM.
How to Increase VRAM in your BIOS
Adjusting the VRAM allocation within your computer’s BIOS or UEFI is the first step. Open your BIOS to find an option called Advanced Features or Advanced Chipset features. Look for something called Graphics Setting, Video Settings or VGA share memory size.
These should include an option to change how much memory you give to the GPU. The default is 128MB. If you have more, increase this to 265MB or 524MB.
This option is not available on every BIOS or CPU. There are ways to change the default setting if you don’t have access to it.
Windows VRAM Increase
The Adapter Property window doesn’t really have any significance because integrated graphics solutions adjust to use the system RAM they require. The Dedicated Memory value for integrated graphics is actually fictitious. It reports a dummy value so that games can see what amount of VRAM you have.
You can change a Registry value to modify the amount of VRAM your system reports back to games. It doesn’t increase your VRAM, it only modifies the dummy value. This can be used to fix a game that refuses or won’t start because it doesn’t have enough VRAM.
Enter regedit in the Start Menu to open a Registry Editor window. You can cause serious damage to your Registry system if you change the wrong values.
Follow the directions:
Right-click on the Intel folder and select Key. This key GMM should be named. Once you have it selected, right-click on the right side of the GMM directory.
Select New> DWORD (32 bit) Value. Give this DedicatedSegmentSize a name and make sure you select the Decimal option. 0 disables the entry, and 512 is the maximum value in megabytes. This value should be set, then restart your computer to see if it makes a game run faster.
Although these methods won’t fix all your video memory problems, they are worth a shot if you have any. You can add RAM or to your system to make it more compatible with integrated graphics. Your system will use standard RAM instead of the dedicated video RAM on a graphics card to run integrated graphics. You’ll need enough RAM to run your games smoothly.
As with many hardware tasks, upgrading RAM or video cards is difficult on a laptop. However, it’s easy on a computer.
What Tasks Require Video RAM?
Before we get into the details of video memory, let’s first discuss which aspects of games and graphics-intensive apps use most VRAM.
VRAM consumption can be affected by the resolution of your monitor, or more specifically, at what resolution you are running a particular game. Video RAM stores the frame buffer. This buffer holds an image that is stored before and after your GPU displays it on your screen. High-quality displays, such as 4K HDR monitors, use more VRAM. This is because high-resolution images require more pixels to display.
Other than your monitor’s display, texture in a game can have a dramatic impact on how much VRAM you require. Modern PC games allow you to fine-tune the graphical settings to improve performance and visual quality.
With a lower card or integrated graphics, you may be able play games from years ago at High or Mode settings. You will need lots video RAM to play High and Ultra games, as well as custom mods that enhance the game’s textures.
Because of the additional pixels needed, beautification features such as anti-aliasing (the smoothing out jagged edges), also require more VRAM. You can play on more than one monitor simultaneously, which makes it even more intense.
VRAM can be required for specific games depending on the level of graphic fidelity. Overwatch, a cartoony title, is not too graphically demanding. Cyberpunk 2077, however, requires more resources due to its advanced lighting effects and detailed textures.
A card with 2GB of VRAM or integrated graphics with 8GB+ system RAM is enough to play PC games from 20 years ago. Back then, games didn’t have the same amount of RAM as today.
Even if gaming is not your thing, many popular programs require a lot of RAM. Video RAM is essential for 3D design software such as AutoCAD and Photoshop. It will also make it difficult to edit high-quality video.
What amount of VRAM do I need?
There is no one right amount of VRAM. We can give you some guidelines on how much VRAM to aim for in a graphic card.
- 1-2GB VRAM: These cards usually cost less than $100. These cards offer superior performance to integrated graphics but are unable to handle modern games at higher settings. If you are looking to play older games that don’t support integrated graphics, only purchase a card with this much VRAM. This card is not recommended for 3D or video editing.
- 3-6GB VRAM: These mid-range cards are great for moderate gaming and some video editing. While you won’t have the ability to run insane texture packs, you can still play modern games at 1080p without any issues. 6GB is more secure than 4GB.
- 8GB-12GB VRAM or more: These high-end cards have a lot of RAM and are meant for serious gamers. You will need plenty of VRAM to be able to play the latest games at 4K resolution.
But, you should treat the above statements with caution. VRAM is added to graphics cards based on the GPU’s power.
A $75 card will have very little VRAM while a $500 card will have more. It’s wasteful to put 8GB of VRAM into a card if your GPU isn’t strong enough to render video.
VRAM isn’t designed for extremes. To play 2D indie platformers, you don’t necessarily need a $800 card with 12GB VRAM. You don’t need to worry about the amount of VRAM you get if the card you are interested in is available in different VRAM configurations. Your GPU decision should not be limited to VRAM.
Common Concerns with Video RAM
Just like regular RAM, VRAM does not always translate into better performance. You won’t notice a difference in performance if your card has 4GB VRAM, but you are playing a game that uses 2GB.
In contrast, not enough VRAM can be a major problem. VRAM can become a problem if it is full. This will cause performance to suffer. You’ll experience a slower frame rate and texture pop-ins. Extreme cases can cause the game to slow down and stop being playable (anything below 30FPS).
Remember, VRAM is only one aspect of performance. Without a fast enough CPU, rendering 4K video can take hours. You can’t run multiple programs simultaneously if you don’t have enough system RAM. Using a mechanical hard disk will also severely reduce your system performance. Some graphics cards are cheaper and use slower DDR3 VRAM than the DDR6 or DDR5 found in modern cards.
Talking to someone who is knowledgeable is the best way to determine which graphics card and how much video RAM you need. Ask a friend about the latest graphics cards or post to Tom’s Hardware asking for advice.
Understanding VRAM with Integrated Graphics
Our discussion assumed that your computer has a dedicated graphics card. Most people have a computer with a video card, whether they build it themselves or purchase a prebuilt gaming machine. Some laptops with a larger screen include a dedicated graphics card.
However, budget laptops and off-the-shelf notebooks do not include video cards. Instead, they use integrated graphics.
An integrated graphics solution is a GPU that shares the same die with the CPU and uses your regular system RAM, instead of its dedicated VRAM. This solution is cost-effective and allows laptops with basic graphics to be produced without the need of a large and expensive video card. However, integrated graphics are not suitable for graphically demanding tasks and gaming.
Your CPU will determine how much performance integrated graphics can deliver. The Intel Iris Xe Graphics processors are faster than older and less powerful CPUs. However, they still fall short of dedicated graphics.
You should not have any problems viewing videos, playing low-intensity video games, or working in basic photo and editing apps with integrated graphics as long as your computer is less than a decade old. It is impossible to play the most graphically stunning games at a good frame rate with integrated graphics.
You now understand video RAM
You now know what video RAM is and how much you’ll need. Remember that video RAM is only one aspect of your overall computer performance. Even with lots of VRAM, a weak GPU won’t be able to perform well.
If you want to improve your gaming and graphics performance, you will need to first upgrade your processor and/or RAM. The VRAM should be fine once you have done all that.