12 Differences Between VRAM and RAM

Video RAM is a particular type of RAM but that does not mean it is the same as RAM. It is easy to mix them both if you are not aware of the differences between them.

To your rescue, here is an article that entails the major differences between these two types of memory which will make things simple and less confusing when you make a comparison between them two.


  • The RAM is typically located on the motherboard of the computer to be used by the Central Processing Unit while the Video RAM is located in the graphics card as its exclusive memory.
  • The RAM stores all necessary data and information that the CPU needs to access for booting the computer or opening a program.
  • The VRAM however stores all data related to the images that are necessary for the graphics card for its performance.
  • The size of a Video RAM is much smaller in comparison to the size of the RAM.
  • RAM typically comes with a single port but the Video RAM is dual ported and is faster since they use quad data rate bus as opposed to double data rate bus used by a regular RAM.

The 12 Differences Between VRAM and RAM

Differences Between VRAM and RAM

1. Location

The RAM is located on the motherboard of the computer. On the other hand, the VRAM is located in the graphics card.

2. Design

While both of them allow accessing the necessary data, the RAM is designed to work for the CPU especially. It enhances the performance of the CPU or Central Processing Unit of the computer.

On the other hand, the VRAM is designed specifically to work for the graphics processing unit or the GPU. It enhances the performance of the GPU, integrated or discrete, of the computer.

3. Function

The main function of the RAM is to store data and instructions from the hard disk that are required by the CPU to access quickly to perform the current operations such as opening a program or rebooting the computer.

On the other hand, the main function of the VRAM is to store the necessary data required for rendering images and graphics that are required by the GPU to access quickly for a faster performance.

4. Upgradability

The VRAM in a dedicated graphics unit is hard to upgrade without replacing the entire GPU.

On the other hand, it is very easy to upgrade the RAM since it is installed on a slot on a motherboard, provided the motherboard supports such upgrades.

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5. Type

The VRAM is a specific type of RAM that acts as the internal memory to store the data for the graphics processor but, in comparison, the RAM acts as a type of a physical memory of the computer system.

6. Accessibility

The VRAM needs a new charge in order to access every byte-addressable data unit stored in it.

On the other hand, the various pieces of information and data stored by the RAM can be accessed by the CPU with a single charge.

7. Time Factor

It takes a bit longer for the GPU to access the VRAM since it needs a new charge every time it is accessed.

On the other hand, it is much faster for the CPU to access the RAM since it can be done with a single charge.

8. Interchangeability of Functions

The GPU can allocate a few tasks to the RAM when the VRAM is overloaded though the primary intention of using it is to offload the RAM.

However, the functions of the RAM cannot be allocated to the VRAM even if it is overloaded because it is not designed to work for the CPU of the computer.

9. Simplicity

The VRAM is relatively simpler than the system RAM because it stores only four specific types of data such as shader programs, textures, vertex buffers, and index buffers.

The RAM, on the other hand, is not so simple because it has to hold all sorts of data, instructions, codes, and other objects that are required to load a program, boot a system, and perform a lot of other different tasks by the CPU.

10. Size

The VRAM is often small in size. It is not unusual to find a VRAM of 50 MB that are typically used in iPads and other smaller mobile devices.

On the other hand, a system RAM cannot be as small as a VRAM. Usually, even a low-end smartphone will not have a RAM that measures anything less than 512 MB in size these days.

11. Ports

Typically, the Video RAMs are dual-ported. This means that the VRAM will support performing read and write operations at the same time.

On the other hand, the RAM used in the computer is usually single-ported. It can perform only one particular operation at a time.

12. Data Rate Bus

VRAMs typically use quad data rate bus but, in comparison, the RAMs use double data rate bus.

Which is Better – VRAM or RAM?

A computer is equipped with a lot of smaller and bigger critical components that help it in running efficiently and smoothly.

One such part is VRAM. If you are an ardent gamer or are into video editing then you will already be acquainted with this term.

The other important component is the RAM.

Typically, both RAM and VRAM have different functions to perform in order to enhance the operation of the computer system overall.

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Therefore, it may be unwise to say the VRAM is better than the RAM or vice versa.

Still, to some extent, the RAM seems to outdo the VRAM in some specific aspects.

This is because the VRAM or video memory of the graphics cards is designed to store data and instructions that are used to display things such as 3D models and textures.

However, if a game loads all the objects from its own disk then it will normally use the hard drive more.

Moreover, it is the RAM of the computer that is mainly responsible for the speed of the hardware components of the computer that will affect its overall performance.

This is because all instructions and data required to execute a program is primarily stored within the CPU even though the data is stored in the system memory.

If this data and instruction in the CPU is not enough to perform a specific task, your system will run slow.

Therefore, the more information is stored in the RAM, the better.

However, if you have a low amount of RAM in your system, it will take a longer time for the CPU to decide which particular program to launch first.

It is for this reason you are advised to have more RAM in your computer.

The main function of the RAM is to store data or a program along with the program results when a computer is switched on. RAM typically refers to the read and write memory of the computer.

This means that you can read instructions from RAM and write instructions on it as well.

RAM is a volatile memory. This means that it does not store data or instructions in it permanently.

Instead, it stores the data and instructions from the hard disk in it when you switch on the computer, or when you reboot your computer, or open a program such as the operating system.

This data and instructions are used by the CPU to perform the necessary tasks.

When you shut down the computer, all data that is stored in the RAM is lost.

This means that the data and instructions stay in the RAM as long as the computer is on and lost when it is switched off.

It is replaced with only the new and necessary data that is required by the CPU to perform its current operations and all unnecessary data is deleted.

Therefore, the RAM never fills up completely.

The most significant benefit of using RAM to load data is that it is much faster for the CPU to read it from RAM than reading it from the hard disk.

This expedites the overall performance of the computer.

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Almost every program that you run on your computer uses the RAM whether it is the word processor, any communication app, the web browser, or even a video game.

The more programs you run at the same time, the more system memory you will need.

Still, the importance of VRAM cannot be ignored, especially if you are using your computer to play high-end video games and perform professional video editing tasks.

In that case, the more VRAM you have in your system, the better.

Typically, when you experience a drop in frame rate or your computer suffers from stutters, you may consider that there is something wrong with the Graphics Processing Unit.

It is surely an indication that the computer needs more video or GPU memory.

VRAM is a specific form of RAM that helps in improving the graphics performance and is especially designed to work with and for the GPU or the Graphics Processing Unit.

The VRAM is placed on the graphics card close to the GPU and is not inserted into a slot on the motherboard or connected to it otherwise.

This makes it easier and faster for the GPU to access the necessary data for image rendering.

The main job of the VRAM is to work on the tasks assigned to it by the GPU by acting as a buffer for it.

It actually stores the image data and helps in rendering graphics and images smoothly especially for graphic-intensive tasks such as 3D rendering, gaming, and video editing or rendering processes.

Therefore, just like the RAM, the size of the VRAM determines how fast and better the performance of the GPU will be.

Consequently, depending on the type of job you want to use your computer for, you should have an adequate amount of RAM and VRAM in your computer.

In the end it can be said that both RAM and VRAM are important to have in a computer though the degree of importance will depend on the type of task you want to do on your computer.

Still, it is the RAM that has a bit more importance than VRAM since it is responsible for all different operations of the computer, including graphics performance.


So, as it is evident from this article, there is quite a lot of difference between a RAM and a VRAM in terms of their functionality, design and other aspects.

Now that you know all about them, you can confidently point them out to your ignorant friend.

About Puja Chatterjee

Puja ChatterjeePuja Chatterjee is a technical writer with extensive knowledge about computers. She graduated from BIMS. Her expertise includes technology writing and client relationship management gained through over 12 years of experience. Follow Her at Linkedin.

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