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What is Dynamic Video Memory Technology (DVMT)?
DVMT or Dynamic Video Memory Technology refers to the specific type of architecture of the motherboard that offers a much better performance due to appropriate and more efficient video memory allocation.
In simple terms, this technology allows optimal utilization of video memory through direct Accelerated Graphics Port or AGP due to ‘dynamic’ allocation of system memory for most efficient use of the available resources to offer maximum 2D or 3D graphics performance.
- The Dynamic Video Memory Technology improves the performance of the graphics processor whether it is related to 2D or 3D graphics because this technology guarantees that the desired amount of video memory is always available to the Graphics Processing Unit or the GPU.
- There are different options of DVMT memory to choose from starting from 0 MB but it typically depends on the manufacturer of the motherboard as well as the amount of memory the computer system already has as to how much of it will be allocated as video memory.
- The amount of DVMT memory may be decided by the user but it is best to leave it for the graphics driver so that it gets the amount of video memory according to the requirement of the specific application or a game.
- There are three different modes of this technology to choose from namely fixed only, DVMT only and a combination of both. Each of these three modes has diverse benefits to offer.
- Allocation of video memory using this technology may affect the performance of the operating system since the allocated memory will not be accessible by it even if the GPU does not use it.
Understanding Dynamic Video Memory Technology
The job of the Dynamic Video Memory Technology is to ensure that the graphics processor always has the desired video memory to perform at the desired level.
This is done by distributing a specific amount of memory to it from the total system memory and taking it back when not in use and reallocating it to the operating system for other uses.
However, the operating system cannot use it directly if it is not being used by the graphics processor.
Typically, when you switch on a computer system, it will boot up using the system memory that is pre-allocated for graphics.
The amount of system memory available plays a significant role here along with DVMT.
Justifying its name, this technology of Intel enhances the 2D and 3D graphics performance of the system with more active allocation of the system memory.
Depending on the circumstances and the available resources allocated dynamically, it is the technology that is most efficient to meet the demands of more graphically intensive games.
The Dynamic Video Memory Technology is very helpful in allocating system memory and it follows three specific modes of operation for that matter such as:
- Fixed memory
- DVMT memory and
- Fixed plus DVMT memory.
You are allowed to select the mode as you prefer but electing different modes will have different effects on the overall performance.
For example, when you set the DVMT mode to fixed, a definite portion of the system memory will be kept as reserve by the graphics driver as its own memory.
This is in addition to the amount of graphics memory that is pre-allocated already.
Though this guarantees a specific amount of graphics memory, there is a downside to it as well.
It is that the operating system will not be able to use this particular amount of memory once it is allocated even if it is not being used by the graphics processor currently, as said earlier.
It will then have to report the total system memory. It will then be added in the amount as disparate to the pre-allocated memory.
On the other hand, if you set it to DVMT only mode, the system memory will be allocated more dynamically as the graphics memory based on the graphics requirements of the system.
However, in this mode, the technology allocates graphics memory from the system memory only when any graphics intensive app or game is running.
When the demand for it falls, the graphics memory allocated will be taken back and given to the operating system for other functions.
And, when you set it into the dual mode, a specific amount of system memory will be allocated as dedicated graphics memory by the graphics driver and at the same time it will also allow allocating more system memory dynamically to the operating system as well as the graphics processor.
Once again, when the graphics processor does not need the additional amount of memory, the allocated amount is returned to the system memory and is reallocated to the operating system to use it while performing other functions.
You can easily detect the video memory allocated to an application by following the recommendations of Intel. The approaches however depend on the particular type of operating system that you are using. For example:
- If you are using Windows 10 operating system you can use the QueryVideoMemoryInfo() approach and
- If you are using any operating system that is lower than Windows 10 you can use the DXGI_ADAPTER_DESC approach.
Out of these two approaches, the first one is considered to be much more accurate since it explicitly detects the video memory budget of an application.
Apart from that, it also offers the operating system an option to limit the allocation of memory according to the amount that you are in fact budgeted for.
It is typically 2 GB for all Intel Core processors belonging to the 4th generation and earlier. And, if the processors belong to the 5th generation or above, the amount of the allocated memory is approximately 90% of the total amount of memory divided by two.
On the other hand, in the second approach where the dedicated video memory is added to half of the total memory as the shared system memory in the DXGI_ADAPTER_DESC structure, the former refers to the amount of Video Random Access Memory or Video RAM available to the discrete graphics cards on board.
It is 128 MB DVMT pre-allocation for any Intel integrated Graphics Processing Units or GPUs set in the Basic Input Output System or BIOS. However, you should keep in mind that not all vendors follow the same approach.
When you face any issues while playing a game such as the app not running due to the absence of the minimum amount of dedicated Video RAM value required, you can also make some tweaks in the registry as recommended by Intel and get the right values.
Ideally, you can modify and even disable the amount reported if you want by making some changes in this specific registry value – HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Intel\GMM and create a new REG_DWORD value called ‘DedicatedSegmentSize.’
This particular value will then be interpreted as the amount of MB to report the system memory.
This value may range anywhere between 0 MB and 512 MB. If the value is 0 it will disable reporting the model memory segment and if no registry value or key is found then the driver will report 128 MB as the default value.
Is It Good to Increase DVMT Memory?
No, you should abstain from doing this because increasing the DVMT memory to the maximum may only create additional bottlenecks on your computer system thereby affecting its overall performance.
Ideally, as you will find it later, it is best left to the graphics driver to allocate the memory in DVMT mode because it will do it most dynamically considering the given circumstances.
However, the extent of the effect of increasing the size of the memory will typically depend on the type of graphics controller of the chip that uses the main memory of the system to do its job.
Typically, increasing this memory will evidently decrease the amount of memory available to the other components of the computer system that may need it.
This will surely affect the performance level and speed, slightly or notably, depending on the component in question thereby creating bottlenecks and slowing down your computer system and its overall performance eventually.
On the other hand, if you are using a powerful NVIDIA or ATI card then switching out of one for another which has more amount of memory will not affect the overall performance of the entire computer system.
This is because these specific types of graphics cards typically come with their exclusive on-board memory.
Increasing the amount of video memory that they already have will only help a few specific programs, 3D video games, and apps that use a lot of graphics memory to run at a notably fast rate.
What Size is DVMT Memory?
The common sizes of DVMT memory are 0 MB, 32 MB, 64 MB, and 128 MB. Though most of the systems available in the market currently offer only these options, it however depends largely on the manufacturer of the motherboard as well as the amount of memory that your computer system already has.
Ideally, the graphics memory used by DVMT is the same as the size of the memory of the Display Adapter or Control Panel pages as well as the amount of video memory needed by any external Peripheral Component Interconnect Express or PCIe graphics card.
It only needs that much of memory which will help it to stay active and it is usually granted by the operating system when requested.
Ideally, the size of the DVMT memory can be calculated by the following formula:
Memory size = Pre-allocated memory + additional memory requested by the app through the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator driver.
The final or maximum amount of graphics memory granted will also depend on the configuration of the BIOS of the computer system.
Typically, in most of the cases, this maximum amount is never more than 128 MB.
However, if you are using an old computer, the Basic Input Output System will not restrict the video memory to 128 MB. In that case you will see a higher maximum allocated as graphics memory which can be up to 224 MB.
As said earlier, this amount of memory pre-allocated is not visible to the operating system and when the user exits from the Intel GMA driver, the app gives up the additional amount of memory it requested which is then given to the operating system.
What Should You Set DVMT at?
As a general recommendation, the graphics driver should allocate the memory in the DVMT mode. This will allow more dynamic allocation of memory based on the changing circumstances.
Ideally, the BIOS feature should be set to 0 MB and use it to set the size of the maximum graphics memory and limit total graphics memory to about 256 MB for systems.
The Dynamic Video Memory Technology of Intel typically allocates the memory resources based on the system demands at that particular time.
It does it dynamically and improves the memory efficiency that is allocated to the graphics processor or the system.
However, based on the manufacturer of the motherboard you may or may not be permitted to make a choice between 1 MB and 8 MB of memory for pre-allocation.
Ideally, it is best to set the fixed memory size BIOS feature in combination with the DVMT memory size BIOS feature by selecting the operating mode as well as the optimal amount of graphics that can be allocated to the graphics processor onboard.
For example, setting the DVMT memory size to 0 MB and the BIOS feature to 32 MB will offer 32 MB of system memory in total as the graphics memory in fixed mode.
The same will be 64 MB in total when both are set at 0 MB and 64 MB respectively and 128 MB when these are set at 0 MB and 128 MB.
However, if you wish to set the DVMT memory size to any other value instead of 0 MB, the onboard graphics processor will function at DVMT and in fixed memory mode.
This will however depend on the total pre-allocated memory to both fixed and DVMT memory size.
This will help in improving the overall performance significantly due to the following reason.
It will however not be accessible or even visible to the operating system and will be used typically for different purposes such as:
- In the booting process for displaying the splash and boot screen
- While running MS-DOS apps and games and
- When Windows XP loads in the Safe Mode.
When an operating system loads up and it has the right type of GMA or Graphics Media Accelerator driver of Intel, the graphics processor will reclaim and use the pre-allocated memory.
However, this will be available to the graphics memory only and not the apps or the operating system used.
Eventually, the GMA driver will load the additional and necessary system memory.
Dynamic Video Memory Technology is very useful for a computer to perform well and offer the best graphics performance.
This specific technology makes sure that the graphics processor is never short of the amount of video memory needed by the GPU that may drop its performance level with more dynamic allocation.