Getting an error message saying your PC doesn’t meet minimum system requirements can be devastating, but you will be pleased to hear there is a solution that doesn’t involve buying new expensive hardware. Find here how to increase VRAM in Windows 10.
Naturally, when it comes to enhancing your computer’s performance, the quickest and easiest solution is to simply upgrade your configuration to enjoy a better gaming experience. Unfortunately, that is not a readily available option for everyone. We’re going to help you get the best out of whatever graphics card you already have without needing that upgrade.
Before we start, it’s vital that we explain exactly what video RAM is and what it is used for.
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VRAM (Video Random-Access Memory)
This type of RAM is dedicated to specifically serve the GPU (graphics processing unit), in the same manner, that the system RAM will help out the CPU (central processing unit). While the system RAM directly communicates with the CPU about all tasks that your PC is taking on, the VRAM only works in the graphical department and is only in charge of very specific video rendering-related assignments.
There are plenty of tasks that the GPU is extremely well optimized in performing. As such, it needs a highly optimized memory to perform those tasks as fast as possible. Unlike the iGPU (integrated graphics processing unit), which uses a share of the system memory, dedicated GPUs have their own memory.
Due to this important symbiosis, VRAM will be very physically close to the actual GPU to enable the fastest possible communication and that is precisely where you’ll find most VRAM.
The VRAM is fundamental for things like frame buffering and texture mapping. This data is essential for the GPU to render images at the best possible rate and at the highest possible quality. This is why the lack of VRAM can be critically detrimental to your gaming experience.
Tips And Tricks
Fortunately, there are some really good tricks out there that can help you get the best possible results out of the VRAM you already have. It’s always good to try these before you move on to more complicated solutions.
Lower The Need For VRAM
This might sound too simplistic, but if you can limit how much VRAM the game you’re playing requires, you can actually get decent results without needing to increase VRAM.
One of the most important things that you have to pay attention to, and which can dramatically lower the VRAM requirement, is the resolution at which you play your game of choice. Most games out there have an in-game setting that allows you to adjust the resolution.
The math is simple. The lower the resolution, the fewer pixels need to be rendered, which results in less VRAM usage.
A drastic, but a good example is that gaming at 720p requires only 2 gigabytes of VRAM while going with a slightly higher resolution at 1080p will need anywhere between 2 and 6 GB of VRAM.
The frames rendered are directly used by the frame buffer, and the space required is pretty noticeable. If you were to play at 1080p, a single image will need only 8.3 MB while that same frame rendered at 4K will need a whopping 33.2 MB.
Lowering the texture details will also help a lot, but lowering the anti-aliasing might be even more helpful. The anti-aliasing process actually renders the same image several times in order to smooth out those pesky jagged edges. If you don’t mind those jagged edges and it doesn’t affect your gaming, you can turn it off completely to increase VRAM.
However, sometimes there’s only so much that you can get by lowering the details and turning off anti-aliasing. Even the less graphically intensive games will still need a certain amount of VRAM to run smoothly.
Another cool thing, although it might be a bit too obvious, is turning off any extra software that you may be running in the background that might need to use VRAM.
Although a simple screen capturing application like Fraps doesn’t use the graphics card exclusively, with some settings where the images are immediately compressed, your GPU will be tasked with additional work.
If you really need to record your screen, it would be best to capture the images raw, although that will additionally burden your RAM and storage will quickly drain.
Connecting Two Or More GPUs Via SLI Or Crossfire Won’t Help
Due to the way these two outdated technologies work, they can’t really take advantage of the multiple VRAMs available. This is mostly because they work in a master-slave configuration where one graphics card will be in charge of the others.
While using Crossfire is possible with two graphics cards with different amounts of VRAM, it’s still not recommended as only the VRAM of the GPU with the least amount of it will be considered. In turn, as far as SLI goes, the option to connect two graphics cards with different VRAM is impossible.
Nvidia’s NVLink is a relatively better solution. With it, the amount of VRAM of all GPUs will be put to use. Although it won’t be the exact sum of two VRAMs, it will still be pretty close and useful.
However, seeing how most NVLink compatible cards are relatively modern, you probably won’t need to increase VRAM at all. But it’s good to know that there is a relatively easy solution should you ever stumble upon this issue.
Although it may seem counterproductive, it’s possible that you have an older GPU if you’re experiencing low VRAM issues. In this case, getting a new GPU from the same model will be a lot less expensive than getting a brand new graphics card.
‘Trick’ The Game Into Thinking There Is More VRAM Available
If you don’t have enough VRAM, it’s likely that some games won’t even start and instead show you an error mentioning your lack of VRAM.
It’s key to note that this will only work on an integrated graphics card, be it Intel’s HD Graphics or AMD’s APU.
Most games do this to ensure the game isn’t being run at a low FPS. Of course, developers use this tactic so they can avoid angry mobs with torches at their offices, demanding a proper FPS.
How they actually check for this is by checking out the registry and seeing how much VRAM is available so, before we get on to the actual ‘trick’, let’s find out how we can get information on how much VRAM we have access to.
How To Check How Much VRAM You Have
- Press Windows Key + R and type in “ms-settings:display” when prompted.
- This will lead you to your PC’s display settings where you should scroll down to the ‘Advanced Display Settings” and click it.
- There you can click the “Display adapter properties for Display 1” option.
- In the ‘Adapter’ tab you will see the exact amount of dedicated video memory on your PC.
This will tell you how much additional VRAM is necessary and exactly how much you should change it in the next step.
Before explaining how to modify the registry, it’s important to mention that this ‘trick’ doesn’t actually increase VRAM, but rather displays a certain amount of it to the game. So, although this doesn’t actually improve the performance, it does allow you to actually start the game if you’re experiencing the issue where the game refuses to load because of a lack of VRAM.
Also, it’s important to establish that there is a reason why games refuse to load up when lacking VRAM: a game won’t be able to function properly, and it’s quite possible that it will be barely playable.
Changing The Registry
- To access the registry in the first place and then be able to edit it, you have to press Windows Key + R and then type in ‘regedit’.
- There you’ll want to look for the ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE’ folder on the left-hand side of the window.
- After you expand it, look for the ‘SOFTWARE’ folder and then for the ‘Intel’ folder and right-click it.
- In the dropdown menu click on ‘New’ and then on ‘Key’, which you will name ‘GMM’.
- After you press ‘Enter’, you will right-click the newly-created GMM folder and then again look for ‘New’, only this time you will select ‘DWORD (32-Bit) Value’ and name it ‘DedicatedSegmentSize’.
- After you double-click the registry you’ve just created, a window will open prompting you to change the value. You can choose any number between 0 and 512, just be sure to select the decimal base.
Click ‘OK’, restart your computer, then try starting your game.
Changing VRAM In BIOS/UEFI
This is the only legitimate way to increase VRAM. However, truthfully, you’re not going to be able to raise it past its limits. It’s also important to mention that this won’t be available on all motherboards, but it should be fine for the vast majority.
Also, since BIOS came first, it remained in people’s minds and many who were already settled on the term refused to change it when UEFI, its successor, came out and replaced it. We’re mentioning this because we will use the word BIOS despite this setting being possible in both, simply to avoid confusion.
So, in order to access BIOS, you need to restart your PC.
- The issue here is that, depending on your motherboard, you will need to press a different button to boot BIOS. Those buttons tend to be F2, F8, F9, F12 or the Del key. It would be best if you could check what button you should press, either in a manual or via the manufacturer’s website.
- As modern PCs boot quite quickly, you’ll have to be really fast yourself in pressing the required button at the right time. The brute force method is to simply mash the button from the moment you restart your computer.
- Once you enter the BIOS, you will want to look for ‘Advanced Chipset Features’ or ‘Advanced Features,’ which is entirely dependent on your motherboard. Once you are inside that tab, you are going to search for ‘VGA Share Memory Size‘, ‘Graphics Settings‘, ‘Video Settings’, something along those lines.
- Inside is the paydirt. You simply have to change the ‘Pre-Allocated VRAM’ to an option that is more than you currently have. And there you go: you managed to increase VRAM.
- Proceed with booting up your system and check if you have that much-desired extra VRAM.