Who wouldn't enjoy quality images while gaming or editing videos? In line with this consideration, there are several computer aspects that you need to prioritize for the best visuals. One such aspect is VRAM which is meant to enhance the performance of the main graphics processing unit (GPU). In this write-up, we will look at how to increase VRAM.
Essentially, we will focus on how to increase the allocation of your existing VRAM or just trick the system into thinking it has been increased. This approach is an alternative to changing the entire VRAM hardware in your computer. Fortunately, this solution will help you when changing hardware isn't possible due to compatibility or price issues. However, before getting to the solutions, let's first understand the concept of VRAM.
What is VRAM?
Video RAM (VRAM), is a type of RAM designed to work together with a graphics card or graphics processing unit in delivering quality computer visuals. Ideally, VRAM is meant for holding any information on lighting and texture relating to the functioning of the GPU. The reason for holding on to information is to enable a dedicated GPU to fetch and beam it to a computer's monitor at a faster rate. In essence, it's an extra cog for the efficient delivery of quality visuals.
In the absence of the video random access memory, the GPU normally works with the standard system's RAM. However, standard RAM translates to lower frame rates and drops in texture and performance for some games. Accordingly, VRAM steps in to handle the high-intensity graphics functions since it's meant to be installed closer to a dedicated graphics card. An integrated graphics card is good for boosting a PC's visuals, but a dedicated graphics card is the finest graphics solution.
Also, more VRAM will result in mediocre or no improvement in graphics if it's not sufficient for your system. Therefore, it's best to ensure you get the appropriate VRAM for your system. Not to worry, there are ways to increase VRAM. However, before we get to these solutions, let's first identify how much VRAM you'd need for different applications.
Different computer users or even gamers require different VRAM capacities. That said, it's important to match your intended computer functions with the installed dedicated VRAM. Once again, we are referring it to as dedicated since it's meant to step in and help with the high-intensity graphics functions. As such, here is a simple guide to the VRAM capacity you need for different situations:
- 1 to 2 GB VRAM: This capacity will work best with older games that cannot run solely on an integrated video card. Nonetheless, such VRAM won't be adequate for 3D tasks, video editing and modern heavy-duty games. Simply put, this hardware can't handle video settings above the average, and thus they are cheap. However, if you are on a thin budget, you can use this for a budget gaming PC build probably below $100.
- 3 to 6GB VRAM: This appropriation is a step-up with the ability to handle intense video edits and moderate gaming. As a mid-range capacity, you can use it for modern games at a resolution of 1080p, and if the texture is very intense, it will have glitches. Going max in this range (6GB) will ensure you remain future-proof for some years for moderate gaming.
- 8 to 12 GB VRAM and more: Now, this is the best appropriation for serious gaming. With such capacities, you will seamlessly play all the latest editions at 4K resolution while remaining future-proof to even better resolution. Notably, rising to this range will mean breaking the bank for premium PC gaming.
How Do You Check Your VRAM in Windows 10 and 11?
As part of understanding the concept of VRAM, you also have to be intentional by knowing how to check your VRAM's capacity. In most cases, you'll be driven to check for VRAM when you experience graphical glitches or slow response rates as you game. With the help of this simple computer hack, you'll know what your computer needs to get better. Accordingly, here are steps on how to check for VRAM:
- Access settings. You can press Win + I for quick access.
- Select the System submenu and proceed to choose Display on the left menubar
- Scroll down and select Advanced display settings
- Then choose the monitor settings you're looking for and select Display adapter properties
- A window will open about the installed VRAM details alongside the dedicated video memory properties.
Method 1: How to Increase VRAM from BIOS
The first and most appropriate way of increasing the VRAM capacity is adjusting the Video RAM allocation from the PC's BIOS. BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is the software responsible for performing start-up processes by linking up to the computer's memory. Nonetheless, this make-do approach doesn't apply to all motherboards, but fortunately, most motherboard manufacturers leave the option to tweak VRAM allocation. In most cases, the default allocation is usually 128MB, with the allowance to increase to 256MB or 512MB, depending on the tweaking allowance.
Subsequently, here are steps to increase dedicated VRAM via the BIOS platform:
- Step 1: Enter your computer's BIOS profile or restart your PC and enter its BIOS settings by pressing the designated BIOS key as it boots. In most cases, you can try Del, F8, F5 or F2 repeatedly. If this approach doesn't work, you can check online for your motherboard's instructions on entering the BIOS settings.
- Step 2: Upon opening the BIOS menu, look for the Advanced Features menu or Advanced Chipset Features. Under this submenu, you should be looking for Video settings, VGA Share Memory Size or graphics settings, depending on your motherboard's model.
- Step 3: At this point, you'll have access to your computer's VRAM. Proceed to increase the pre-allocated VRAM based on the tweaking allowance.
Image Credit: techadvisor.com
Method 2: Increasing VRAM Using Registry Editor
Here's a solution to computer BIOS that doesn't allow for VRAM increments. Typically, VRAM allocation often indicated under Adapter Properties won't count to the actual performance since the system often adjusts the allocation depending on demand. However, the system might sometimes apply the minimum VRAM allocation, which might not be sufficient for some applications and games.
In such situations, you can use a Registry Editor workaround. Nonetheless, the Registry Editor channel is only applicable to integrated Intel GPUs. Additionally, this method will only trick applications and games into using lower VRAM allocation rather than providing a graphics boost, unlike the BIOS method. That said, here are ways of tricking your system to a VRAM increase through the Registry Editor:
- Step 1: Open the Run window (Windows key + R). Type "regedit" and open the Registry Editor window.
- Proceed to the left pane and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Intel
- Right-click the Intel key and select New > Key and label it GMM
- Having selected the GMM key, proceed to the right pane, choose New > Dword (32-bit) Value, and label it DedicatedSegmentSize.
- On the DedicatedSegmentSize, double click and set the Base to Decimal and edit any value between 0 to 512. The value to enter will be the VRAM allocation under the Adapter Properties menu.
- With the right value set, save your changes and restart your PC to implement the changes. After restarting your computer, check if the previous game glitches will recur.
This method is also referred to as faking VRAM increases. Indeed, you will have increased the VRAM allocation, but this will be just a dummy modification. Therefore, a game or application will be tricked into thinking there is more VRAM than before.
Method 3: Adding System RAM
Remember, in the current context, we are simply looking for ways to improve efficiency on the same VRAM hardware. Accordingly, you can also increase the existing VRAM allocation by increasing the system's RAM capacity. Moreover, adding RAM helps free up VRAM by providing more support for the integrated graphics.
As such, your dedicated Video RAM will focus more on the game frames. Subsequently, your games will run more smoothly since there is more system capacity to facilitate better texture and refresh rates. Therefore, if an application or game isn't willing to share VRAM with other processes, it will be tricked into thinking VRAM has been increased. Nonetheless, this method isn't guaranteed to work, but it's worth trying.
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Increase VRAM
1. Is low VRAM usage good?
VRAM usage varies from one application and game to another. Therefore, low VRAM is relative depending on the VRAM hardware installed. As a result, low VRAM might be optimal in some cases or insufficient when dealing with intense applications.
2. What happens if my VRAM is low?
Low VRAM simply translates to poor graphics and what most would refer to as 'hanging'. Such will be caused by poor image textures and slow transition rates, leading to slowdowns. Primarily, low VRAM is noticeable in gaming or any other high-intensive applications.