I’ll be blatant about this because the topic is a bit tedious and complex when it comes to finding a suitable amount of VRAM (GPU). If we were to talk about 2015 or 2010, the majority of the people would answer that 1GB is enough. The question “How much VRAM Do I need for gaming” wouldn’t have any complex solutions, or answers, because, for that time, applications and games weren’t as consuming as they are today.
When we talk about 2021, or a little in the future, the threshold requirement is 4GB of VRAM, which is substantially increasing to 8GB of VRAM. To be honest, in a couple of years, 8GB of VRAM will be the minimum requirement for the majority of the game. Before diving into more complexity, let me explain what a VRAM is first.
What’s a VRAM?
I believe you must be aware of what RAM is. It’s Random-access memory, which stores data temporarily. Similarly, a VRAM is nothing but a video RAM. It’s embedded in small RAM slots on a video card. When you open an application or play a game, basically, to render images and the world that’s inside, you need VRAM and not RAM. RAM indeed harbors applications temporarily, but we don’t use them, except for page filing, for storing shaders, textures, and anything that’s related to rendering.
What type of VRAM are there?
Eons ago, I remember, GDDR1 and other memory types were widespread, but now we have come to a time where GDDR6 VRAM modules are being excessively used. Not to mention, AMD GPUs have different types, at times, then Nvidia cards. Also, the Titan extensions/Lineages have a different VRAM type. Why is it so? It all depends on the core used inside a GPU. For instance, if a GPU is targeted at gamers, Nvidia will definitely use more CUDA and Tensor cores in conjunction with a refined VRAM type. The users can have a seamless gaming experience.
How VRAM works with a processor (Bottleneck concept)?
Let’s take a hypothetical scenario. Assume that you have GTX 750Ti, and you run it with Intel Core i9 9900K. Yes, a completely hypothetical scenario; I know no one would do that, except for the ones who are experimenting. Anyhow, what will you expect if you run the Maya application or any possible game from today’s arsenal? It will work, okay? If your answer is Yes, you are pretty much accurate, but at the same time, you are not.
The concept of bottleneck reinforces the idea of incompatibility between a given processor and a GPU. When you get a CPU bottleneck, basically, your processor is of no par the requirement of the GPU. In layman’s terms, your GPU is forwarding a lot of requests, but your processor fails to acknowledge them on time. The given example of GTX 750Ti and Intel Core i9 9900K will uphold the notion of GPU bottleneck. Here, your GPU is not par with the status of the processor, hence leading to a reduced GPU performance.
Initially, you might ask what’s the connection between the VRAM capacity to the bottleneck. Do you expect a 512MB GPU to run properly with Intel Core i9 9900K? Even if it’s a hypothetical scenario, and we assume that RTX 2060 also comes in a 512MB variant. I know that’s hilarious, but just bear with me. No, it will not work. Your system will crumble down. When you are brainstorming to get a GPU, so do keep in mind that your processor also plays a vital role in determining your GPU/CPU bottlenecks. It’s not always entirely true that more VRAM will work like a charm. You can take the example of RX 580 8GB with Intel Core i9. Even though the GPU has 8GB of VRAM, it will still bottleneck with that processor.
How the in-game settings affect the overall performance of the GPU?
It all boils down to the available VRAM, which can be fortunately combined with the system RAM. You can look up page filing, as I will discuss how to set up page filing and how it works with your GPU and CPU. For now, just stay in rhythm.
From the recent calculations, I came across a phenomenal founding. It’s not groundbreaking news because the majority of the gamers must have already done that. Anyhow, the resolution, ambient occlusion, and every feature that helps in detailing the textures profoundly impact your GPU. If your GPU has 8GB of VRAM, you can expect it to run smoothly, perhaps, on 1440p resolution. Not to mention, the monitor also plays a pivotal role in determining how frequently the pixels will be shuffled. It’s a very complex process, but you know, each and every tweak will result in a better and more functioning game than that of an unacknowledged one.
With that VRAM, you can crank the ambient occlusion to its highest settings, the textures too high, and the resolution to 1920 x 1080 or above if you have a 4k monitor.
It also goes without saying that you can’t expect your PC to run games at 4k if the VRAM is not even 4GB. The majority of the games that people are running on 4k require a minimum of 8GB of VRAM. For the love of GOD, not the 8GB of RX 580, but GPUs in the higher lineage (RTX series, and new RX series of AMD).
So, what exact VRAM capacity do you need to run today’s games?
Keeping in mind that the majority of the latest titles require a minimum of 3GB to 4GB for running games at 2k, I would suggest you take a look at different GPUs and their embedded sub-modules. Also, if you are blessed with a 1440p monitor, then your best shot would be to take a look at RTX GPUs as they are highly compatible when it comes to 1440p resolution.
It’s worth mentioning that a 4GB GPU will not grant you enough freedom in a few years. Basically, the demand for the latest triple-A titles is skyrocketing, and we are left with no choice but to upgrade our systems. In the near future, RTX GPUs might become a bare minimum for running games at 1440p. But when we talk about 2021, 4GB will suffice to run games at 1080p. Do remember that the requirements are subject to change due to the arrival of RX 6900 XT and RTX 3080 GPUs.