7 Differences Between VRAM and DRAM

Video RAM and Dynamic RAM are both types of RAM but they have different functions to perform. Apart from that, they both are different in their features, design and build.

If you are not aware of these differences, you will not be able to distinguish between them and deduce which of them is more useful, if at all.

This is an article that will help you in that aspect making you more knowledgeable and informed about the differences between VRAM and DRAM.


  • Video RAM is related to the graphics card but Dynamic RAM is connected to the rest of the computer through a DIMM slot in a desktop computer and a SODIMM slot in a laptop computer.
  • VRAM stores all data related to the images to enhance the graphics performance of the overall system while DRAM stores the temporary system files.
  • VRAM is typically used by the graphics card but the DRAM is usually used by the Central Processing Unit of the computer system.
  • Usually, the VRAM is dual ported and is therefore much faster in performance using a quad data rate bus than a DRAM which is usually single ported and uses a double data rate bus.

The 7 Differences Between VRAM and DRAM

Differences Between VRAM and DRAM

1. Connection

The VRAM is a special type of Random Access Memory that is connected to the graphics card and is found on the PCB or the Printed Circuit Board.

The DRAM, on the other hand, is connected to the rest of the computer through a DIMM or Dual In-Line Memory Module slot in a desktop computer and a SO-DIMM Small Outline Dual In-line Memory Module slot in case of a laptop.

2. Contents Stored

The VRAM or video memory typically stores the image data to be displayed on the computer displays. This includes textures, video editing data, and lighting effects of a game.

Read Also:  How to Choose RAM for Your Desktop PC?

The DRAM, on the other hand, stores the temporary system files. This includes operating system files and processes, games and programs.

3. Used By

The data stored in the VRAM is used by the graphics card. Therefore, the VRAM stores what the GPU uses.

On the other hand, the data stored in the DRAM is typically accessed by the Central Processing Unit of the computer. Therefore, the DRAM usually stores what the CPU uses.

4. Ports

Typically, the video memory is dual-ported. This means that it supports executing read and write operations at the same time.

On the other hand, the DRAM is usually single-ported.

5. Speed

The VRAM is usually much faster since these are located close to the GPU. This means that the GPU needs to travel a much shorter distance to access the image data stored in the VRAM.

On the other hand, accessing stored data in a DRAM takes a bit longer time in comparison to VRAM.

6. Data Rate Bus

The VRAM typically uses a quad data rate bus which enhances its speed of operation.

The DRAM on the other hand usually uses a double data rate bus which makes it relatively slower than the VRAM in operation.

7. Upgradability

Since the VRAM is soldered onto the PCB of the graphics card, it cannot be replaced or upgraded separately. You will have to replace the whole GPU for that matter.

On the other hand, since the DRAMs use DIMM or SO-DIMM memory slots for desktop and laptop computers respectively, these can be replaced and upgraded easily.

Which is Better – DRAM or VRAM?

Though this is quite a difficult question to answer, knowing a few important facts may help you make a decision yourself.

DRAM has to be refreshed many times in a minute since it is dynamic and if it is not done, all data stored in it is lost because it will ‘forget’ it.

This means that the DRAM too has a duty cycle.

Read Also:  9 Differences Between RAM and ROM

This refers to the time in which it cannot respond anymore to any external requests such as reads and writes.

DRAM is however cheaper in comparison since it needs less silicon physically to make.

However, a significant drawback of the DRAM is that, being single ported, it can either read or write at one time, unlike VRAM.

The VRAM does not have to wait for the Central Processing Unit to finish writing it and therefore can display the images seamlessly and quickly.

This feature is of little or no use for the other components of the computer and therefore is used exclusively by the high-end video cards.

On the video card there are practically two different types of data setups.

One, it transfers data from the CPU to VRAM, and two, it transfers the data from the Video RAM to the RAMDAC or the Random Access Memory Digital-to-Analog Converter.

This is where the video signals are actually produced which you see on the computer screen.

The maximum amount of data that can be sent to or from the Video RAM depends on the video bandwidth and therefore it should be adequate enough to be shared during the read and write operations.

This means that the DRAM should be able to share the bandwidth that is available for write requests made by the CPU and the read requests of the RAMDAC.

This is especially needed when there is a huge amount of data transferred to and from the video memory while addressing higher pixels and color depths.

As a result, if the DRAM runs out of bandwidth the monitor of your computer will not be refreshed fast enough to prevent tears, stutters, and flickers.

The Dynamic Random Access Memory stores every bit of data in an Integrated Circuit in a distinct capacitor.

Since the real capacitors usually leak charge, it will eventually result in fading of the information, due to its dynamic nature, unless the DRAM, or the capacitor to be precise, is periodically refreshed.

Read Also:  9 Differences Between DDR3 and DDR4 RAM

However, the advantage of DRAM over VRAM is its structural simplicity where only one capacitor and a transistor are required to store every bit instead of many of them. This means that the DRAM has high density.

VRAM, the dual ported version of DRAM, were also used previously in graphics adapters but is now obsolete having been replaced by SGRAM or Synchronous Graphics RAM and SDRAM or Synchronous DRAM.

DRAM, however, forms the bulk of the RAM found in most of the systems today. It is the least expensive kind of RAM but is also the slowest.

On the other hand, as said earlier, the VRAM is that stuff in your graphics card that holds only graphics data such as 3D models, textures and their likes that are displayed on the screen.

VRAM is a dedicated Random Access Memory that is hard lined on the video card in order to produce and render complex physics action in the programs and video feeds.

It is that specific type of RAM which is designed to do just that, and nothing more.

DRAMs, on the other hand, are those memory sticks that are connected to the motherboard via four slots.

However, the DRAM can be used to store the programs that are being executed, the variables, and other similar stuff.


Though the purpose of the VRAM and DRAM is almost the same – to store data – there are a few significant differences between them that are not known to an average user.

With all those differences and other facts mentioned in this article, these are no more unknown to them.

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 since childhood. He has over 12 years of experience in writing, computer testing, and research. He is not very fond of social media. Follow Him at Linkedin