By Even Campbell
Good afternoon everyone!!
I have seen more than a handful of the post between the community pages of folks asking the same question in varying forms.
How much VRAM or GPU memory do I need?
First off, there is no direct definitive answer to this. Sure there are recommended and minimum game specifications but, as with most computer hardware selection questions, it all depends on your individual use case. Now that doesn’t stop us from forming a general rule of thumb or widely accepted preference on the topic, so to narrow this down let’s just talk about gaming for a moment.
The biggest hits to VRAM usage are; LOD or draw distance, anti-aliasing, texture/ shader quality, and resolutions being the biggest impact. Most all other graphic settings will only have slight effects with little to zero perceived changes in performance and gameplay. Ideally, you will be adjusting and turning these settings down or up to get your preferred mix of eye-candy and performance for your particular hardware setup, but what is the so-called “rule of thumb recommendation.”
Looking at just resolution settings as the guide since it has the most impact on VRAM utilization. The general consensus minimums are,
-720p gaming, 2gb
-1080p gaming, 4gb
-1440p gaming, 6gb
-4k gaming, 8gb
Again, these are not definitive answers. You could get away with playing at 4k with a 4-6 GB card; but, the graphics settings would be turned down so far that it negates the idea of 4k being all about the visual experience. If all you are playing are modern titles at 1080p and don’t mind turning down some settings then a 4gb card will work just fine.
If you are looking to build a pc or upgrade an old one, aside from budget ask yourself, “what will I be playing/doing now?” or “what do I anticipate playing in the near future.” Many folks will throw the words “future-proofing” around and try to pay lip service to sell you into a higher tier card, and it’s a farce. You can’t future proof anything…but you can, in a limited scope select your hardware for foreseeable future compatibility. Meaning that in the next 2-3 years, (most game developers are announcing 12-, 18-, and some even 24-months ahead of launch) maybe more, your system won’t be completely obsolete due to a massive forward leap in technology. With this idea in mind, my personal recommendation for assuring the widest current and near-future compatibility is getting the best 8 GB card for your particular budget.
As technology progresses, games get more complex, monitors get higher resolutions, and games become more visually taxing these “recommendations” may shift and change, so if you have questions always feel free to ask. The best discourse to a solution is an open dialogue.