What is 256 Bit in GPU? (Explained)

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What is 256 Bit in GPU?

256 bit in a graphic card indicates that the memory bus can send 256 bits of data in one clock cycle or process 256 bits of data as a single unit.

It also signifies the amount of data that the GPU can access at any given point in time or the video memory can hold. However, technically it indicates the number of wires that connect the GPU to the graphics memory.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A 256 bit graphics card comes with a memory bandwidth that is twice as wide as a 128 bit graphics card.
  • A graphics card with 256 bits may not always offer higher performance in comparison to a card with lower bits because it also depends on other factors such as the clock cycle, the speed of the Video RAM and its amount as well.
  • These types of graphics cards are considered to be middle to high range video cards that belong to the current generation and are considered to be mainstream.
  • These high range graphics cards support overclocking the RAM to offer more effective performance benefits overall.

Understanding 256 Bit in GPU

What is 256 Bit in GPU

Ideally, bit rate or data transfer rate refers to the bus width that links the memory of the graphics card to the processor.

The bit rate can vary and is usually restricted by the number of pins of the processor.

A 256 Bit graphics card is the one that offers double the memory bandwidth of a 128 Bit graphics card and three times the memory bandwidth of a 64 Bit graphics card in comparison.

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This larger memory bandwidth will allow it to transfer more data to the onboard memory of the graphics card in each clock cycle which will affect its performance, though in part.

However, if you look at things more realistically, you cannot differentiate two graphics cards and label one as better than the other simply based on the bit rate or the bus size.

Other factors will also come into play such as the clock cycle or the amount and speed of the video RAM of the graphics card.

All these will have a notable influence in the memory bandwidth of the graphics card which is why you should not compare two graphics cards by simply considering whether they are of 128 bits or 256 bits but by their memory bandwidth on the whole.

Today, you will find a lot of graphics cards of different models that come with 256 bits.

Since these video cards run at a 256 bit interface, they offer much higher performance and are considered to be mid-high end graphics cards, if not high end video cards.

Ideally, any graphics card that is mainstream and belongs to the current generation that is available in the market today is either 256 bits or higher.

Still, this is not the only specification that will tell you about the performance of the graphics card.

For that you will need to know the total bandwidth or the actual throughput of the graphics card.

This bandwidth varies depending on the combination of the bit rate and the frequency of the video RAM.

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It can be calculated as the product of the two, divided by 8 and is expressed in Gigabytes usually.

For example, a 256 Bit graphics card with a 3000 MHz clock frequency will have a bandwidth of 96 GB/s in comparison to 48 GB/s memory bandwidth of a 128 Bit graphics card with a Random Access Memory of the same speed.

Since 256 bits of a graphics card is considered to be reasonably high, overclocking the RAM of it will be quite effective in comparison to overclocking the RAM of a 64 Bit or 128 Bit graphics card.

What Does 256 Bit Mean for a GPU?

Bits in the graphics cards refer to the bit rate which indicates the amount of data the video card is able to transfer between its video memory and the processor.

This means that a 256 Bit graphics card will be able to transfer 256 bits of data through the memory bus at a time in each clock cycle.

However, you cannot determine the total output or performance of the graphics card with this parameter.

Typically, higher the bandwidth of the memory, the better is the performance of the graphics card.

The bit of the graphics card is one aspect that will help you to determine this bandwidth along with the clock cycle.

This means that a graphics card with 256 bits will have a higher memory bandwidth than a 128 bits or 64 bits graphics card, provided the clock cycle is the same.

This also means that a 256 Bit graphics card will render images much faster and will draw the images with better resolutions more quickly to make them look seamless and of high quality.

Is a 256 Bit GPU Good for Gaming?

Yes, you can use a 256 Bit graphics card for gaming and expect to have a good user experience.

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Typically, a 256 Bit graphics card will serve a lot of different purposes for different types of users which includes basic and more than basic computing and gaming.

Since these particular graphics cards can handle 3D graphics packages such as Maya and 3ds Max quite effectively, you can expect to have seamless image rendering while playing games on your computer with a 256 Bit graphics card installed in it.

It is all due to the larger bus width that allows moving large amounts of info through it in each clock cycle.

Therefore, if the other combination of the computer system of yours is good enough you will surely have a much better experience while playing some modern games on your computer with a 256 Bit graphics card.

Conclusion

So, now you know that the 256 Bits graphics cards are quite good to use in your computer. These cards will serve a lot of different computing purposes including gaming.

However, just a 256 bus width does not mean a better performance unless the other specs are not equally high.

About Dominic Cooper

Dominic CooperDominic Cooper, a TTU graduate is a computer hardware expert. His only passion is to find out the nitty gritty of all computers. He loves to cook when he is not busy with writing, computer testing and research. He is not very fond of social media. Follow Him at Linkedin