Experiencing dedicated video RAM errors on your Windows PC? Having difficulty running graphically intensive programs such as video editors and new video games? You might require more video RAM (VRAM).
But what exactly is this, and how can you increase VRAM? Continue reading to learn everything there is to know about video RAM in Windows 10 and 11.
What is vram?
Video RAM (or VRAM, pronounced “VEE-ram”) is a particular type of RAM that works with your computer’s graphics processing unit or GPU.
The GPU is the chip on your computer’s graphics card (also known as the video card) that displays images on the screen. Though technically incorrect, graphics cards and GPUs are frequently used interchangeably.
Your video RAM stores information that the GPU requires, such as game textures and lighting effects. This enables the GPU to access information quickly and output video to your monitor.
Because video RAM is located right next to the GPU in the graphics card, it is much faster to use video RAM for this task than system RAM. VRAM is “dedicated” because it is designed for this high-intensity application.
How to Check Your VRAM in Windows 10 and Windows 11
You can easily view the amount of video RAM you have in Windows 10 by following these steps:
- By pressing Win + I, you can access the Settings menu.
- Click Display in the left sidebar after selecting the System entry.
- Scroll down and click the Advanced display settings text.
- Select the monitor you want to view settings from the menu that appears as a result (if necessary).
Then, at the bottom, click .
- Your current video RAM will be listed next to Dedicated Video Memory in a new window.
Go to Settings > System > Display > Advanced Display to access this menu in Windows 11.
Then select a display and click Display adapter properties.
Depending on your device, you’ll see the name of your Nvidia or AMD graphics card under the Adapter Type.
You are likely using integrated graphics if you see AMD Accelerated Processing Unit or Intel HD Graphics.
Below, we go into greater detail about this.
How to Increase VRAM in Windows
The best way to increase your video RAM is to purchase a new or better graphics card. If you’re using integrated graphics and suffer from poor performance, upgrading to a dedicated card (even one of the best budget graphics cards) will improve your video output significantly.
If this isn’t an option for you (as it is on laptops), you can increase your dedicated VRAM in two ways.
How to Increase VRAM in the BIOS
The first method is to change the VRAM allocation in the UEFI or BIOS of your computer. Enter your BIOS and look for an option called Advanced Features, Advanced Chipset Features, or something similar. Find a secondary category called Graphics Settings, Video Settings, or VGA Share Memory Size within that.
These should include an option to change how much memory is allocated to the GPU. If you have enough space, try upping the default memory to 256MB or 512 MB.
This option is not available in every CPU or BIOS. If you can’t change it, a workaround might be of assistance.
Faking a VRAM Increase in Windows
Because most integrated graphics solutions automatically adjust to use the amount of system RAM they require, the information displayed in the Adapter Properties window is mainly irrelevant. The Dedicated Video Memory value for integrated graphics is entirely fictitious. The system reports that dummy value simply so that games can see something when they check how much VRAM you have.
As a result, you can modify a Registry value to change the amount of VRAM your system reports to games.
This does not increase your VRAM; it simply modifies the dummy value. If a game doesn’t start because you “don’t have enough VRAM,” upping this Value may fix that.
Type regedit into the Start Menu to launch a Registry Editor window. Remember that modifying the wrong values can damage your system, so use caution when editing the registry.
Head to the following location:
In the left panel, right-click the Intel folder and select New > Key. Give this key the name GMM. Select the new GMM folder on the left and then right-click on the right side once you’ve created it.
DWORD (32-bit) Value should be selected as the new type. Give this the name DedicatedSegmentSize and a value, making sure to select the Decimal option. The minimum value in megabytes is 0 (which disables the entry), and the maximum value is 512. Set this value, restart your computer, and see if it improves game performance. If not, try a higher value and repeat.
These methods aren’t guaranteed to fix your video memory problems, but they’re worth a shot if you run into trouble. If you don’t have a lot of integrated RAM and are having trouble running games with integrated graphics, try adding more RAM or freeing up RAM for the system to use. With integrated graphics, your games will use standard RAM rather than dedicated video RAM in a graphics card, so you need plenty to run games smoothly.
Like most hardware tasks, upgrading your RAM or video card on a laptop is often tricky but simple on a desktop.
What Kinds of Tasks Need Video RAM?
Before discussing specific video memory values, it’s important to note which aspects of games and other graphics-intensive apps consume the most VRAM.
Your monitor’s resolution (specifically, the resolution you’re running a game) is a significant factor in VRAM consumption. The frame buffer, which holds an image before and during the time your GPU displays on the screen, is stored in video RAM. Higher-resolution images require more pixels, so higher-quality displays (such as a 4K HDR monitor) require more VRAM.
Aside from the Display on your monitor, textures in a game can significantly impact how much VRAM you require. Modern PC games let you tweak graphical settings for performance or visual quality.
With a less expensive card, you can play a game from several years ago at Low or Medium settings (or even integrated graphics). However, High or Ultra quality and custom mods that make in-game textures look even better than they usually do require lots of video RAM.
Anti-aliasing (the smoothing of jagged edges) requires more VRAM due to the additional pixels needed.
It’s even more intense if you play on multiple monitors simultaneously.
Depending on their graphical fidelity, specific games may require a different amount of VRAM. An older cartoony game like Team Fortress 2 isn’t too graphically demanding, but Cyberpunk 2077 requires more resources because it has many advanced lighting effects and detailed textures.
In contrast, a low-cost card with just 2GB of VRAM (or even integrated graphics with 8GB+ of system RAM) is adequate for playing PC games from 20 years ago. Back then, games didn’t have as much RAM as now.
Even if you’re not interested in gaming, some popular software requires significant VRAM. If you need more video RAM, 3D design software like AutoCAD, particularly intensive Photoshop edits and high-quality video editing, will suffer.
How Much VRAM Do I Need?
There is no ideal amount of VRAM for everyone. However, we can give you some general guidelines on how much VRAM you should look for in a graphics card.
- 1-2GB of VRAM: This card costs less than $100. They offer better performance than integrated graphics but can’t handle most modern games at above-average settings. Only purchase a card with this amount of VRAM if you want to play older games that won’t work with integrated graphics. Not suitable for video editing or 3D work.
- 3-6GB of VRAM: These mid-range cards suit moderate gaming or light video editing. You won’t be able to use insane texture packs, but you should be able to play modern games at 1080p with few problems. 6GB is a more future-proof option than 4GB.
- 8GB-12GB of VRAM and above: High-end video cards with this much RAM are for serious gamers.
If you want to play the latest games at 4K resolution, you need a card with a lot of VRAM.
However, taking the preceding generalizations with a grain of salt would be best. Depending on the GPU’s power, graphics card manufacturers add the appropriate amount of VRAM to the card.
Therefore, a $75 graphics card will only have a small amount of VRAM, whereas a $500 graphics card will have a lot more. If a weak GPU isn’t powerful enough to render a video that requires 8GB of VRAM to store, having that much VRAM in the card is a waste.
Extremes are not a concern with VRAM. You don’t need an $800 top-of-the-line card with 12GB of VRAM to play 2D indie platformers. When a card you want to buy is available in multiple VRAM configurations, you only need to worry about how much to get. VRAM isn’t the only factor to consider when selecting a GPU.
Common Video RAM Concerns
Remember that more VRAM does not always imply better performance, just like more RAM. If your card has 4GB of VRAM and you’re playing a game that only uses 2GB, upgrading to an 8GB card will make little difference.
In contrast, more VRAM is needed. If VRAM runs out, the system must rely on standard RAM, and performance suffers greatly. You’ll suffer from a lower frame rate, texture pop-ins, and other adverse effects. In extreme cases, the game may stall and become impossible to play (anything under 30FPS).
Remember that VRAM is only one performance factor. Rendering 4K video will take forever if your CPU needs to be more powerful. A lack of system RAM prevents you from running multiple programs simultaneously, and using a mechanical hard drive severely limits system performance. Furthermore, some low-cost graphics cards use slow DDR3 VRAM, which is inferior to the faster DDR6 and DDR5 used in modern graphics cards.
Talk to a knowledgeable person to determine which graphics card and amount of video RAM are best for you.
Ask a friend who is knowledgeable about the latest graphics cards, or post on a forum such as Reddit or Tom’s Hardware to see if a specific graphics card would work for your needs.
Understanding VRAM With Integrated Graphics
So far, we’ve assumed that you have a dedicated graphics card on your PC. Most people who build their computer or buy a prebuilt gaming PC have a desktop computer with a video card. Some more powerful laptops even have a dedicated graphics card.
However, budget laptops and off-the-shelf desktops do not include video cards and instead use integrated graphics.
An integrated graphics solution means the GPU is on the same die as the CPU and shares your regular system RAM rather than its dedicated VRAM. This is a cost-effective solution that enables laptops to output basic graphics without the need for a space- and energy-consuming video card. However, integrated graphics must be improved for gaming and graphically intensive tasks.
Your CPU determines how much performance you’ll get from integrated graphics. Newer Intel CPUs with Intel Iris Xe Graphics are more potent than their older and less expensive counterparts but still need dedicated graphics.
Suppose your computer is less than a few years old. In that case, you should have no trouble watching videos, playing low-intensity games, and working in primary photo and video editing apps with integrated graphics.
However, playing the most recent graphically impressive games with integrated graphics is impossible at a comfortable frame rate.
Now You Understand Video RAM
You now understand what video RAM is, how much you require, and how to increase it. Finally, remember that video RAM is only a tiny part of your computer’s overall performance. Even with a lot of VRAM, a weak GPU would perform poorly.
So, to increase gaming and graphical performance, you should first upgrade your graphics card, processor, and RAM—the VRAM should sort itself out.