VRAM versus DRAM

What is the difference between the RAM on your mainboard, and that in your graphics card?

Steve Smith talks about the differences between the RAM on your graphics card, and your mainboard.

Episode #5-27 released on March 24, 2015

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Now, this would seem to confuse people, a topic about the differences between video memory and dynamic memory would seem to be complicated, but I want to make something clear. It does not have to be made difficult to understand.

First, GDDR4 and GDDR5 memory are technically based on the DDR3 memory specification, however, how they function is totally a different issue. DRAM, which includes DDR1, 2, 3 and 4 system RAM, is extremely volatile memory. By simply turning off your system, the contents of that memory is lost. Because turning off the system clears system RAM, it also, clears the VRAM.

Your system ram can be accessed randomly. Many different kinds of storage media can be accessed, so called, randomly, which makes for faster access. Graphics VRAM has to be processed, in order. For this reason, VRAM requires a multi stage processing methodology that incorporates the use of shift registers. This means, that the data will be processed in order, that way, the image on the screen will be processed correctly.

This means, that the primary difference between the VRAM and DRAM, is the usage scenario, because at the end of the day, they come from the same technology. What is different, is how it is used. DRAM can be accessed in random order, the program or computer calls for the data in your system ram, and the system receives it. The VRAM, part of the graphics card, is given the information to process, the GPU processes it to the VRAM, which is pushed in strict order, using shift registers, over to the video port.

For those interested, and for anyone who asked, the VRAM and the DRAM have no issues being different generations, so a graphics card with GDDR5 VRAM will work on a computer with DDR3 DRAM.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

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