How Much GPU Memory Do I Need?

To build a gaming PC and get the best gaming experience, you need to have a good graphics card with enough memory for your game. In this article, you will learn how much GPU memory is required for different games across various resolutions.

How Many GB of Memory Do I Need?

If you’re planning to play the latest games on your PC, you need at least 4GB of memory. Increasingly, games are released with requirements of 8GB or more.

Older games may only require 2GB of memory, but as newer games come out that require more, it’s important to have enough memory installed in your computer. 

Your graphics card also requires some memory. If you’re using a dedicated graphics card for gaming and don’t plan on using it for other tasks such as video editing or rendering, then you can get by with just 512MB of memory.

However, if you plan on using your graphics card for other tasks, 1GB or 2GB of memory is recommended.

Why is Having More Memory Better?

GPU memory is becoming an increasingly important factor in modern gaming. With more powerful hardware and increasing graphics requirements, more memory is needed to store the data required for high-performance gaming. However, not all GPUs have the same amount of memory available.

To determine how much GPU memory a particular card requires, you need to know its graphics processing unit (GPU) type and capabilities.

Two common GPUs are general-purpose processors (GPPs) and graphics processing units (GPUs). GPPs are designed for general computing tasks such as word processing and spreadsheets, while GPUs are specifically designed for graphics tasks such as gaming and 3D rendering.

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Each type of GPU has different capabilities and needs. For example, a GTX 1050 Ti GPP has 1GB of GDDR5 memory, while the GTX 1060 6GB GPU has 8GB of GDDR6 memory.

As a result, the GTX 1060 6GB needs at least 6GB of installed GPU memory to run properly. If you need more installed GPU memory, your game might crash or exhibit poor performance.

Some games take advantage of more than 4GB of installed GPU memory; however, many games now come with pre-installed options that allow you to adjust the game’s settings to use less or more than 4GB of installed GPU memory without affecting gameplay or stability.

As long as your game uses less than 4GB of installed GPU memory, you don’t need to worry about increasing your system’s memory to accommodate it.

What are the Different Factors to Consider in GPU Memory?

There are many factors to consider when sizing your graphics card’s memory. Here are a few:

  1. Your application’s requirements. Certain applications, like video editing or 3D rendering, require more memory than others.
  2. Your system’s hardware capabilities. Your computer’s processor and graphics card can also affect how much memory you need. For example, if your computer has a lot of processing power, you can use a higher-memory graphics card without issue. Conversely, if your computer is limited in processing power, you may need to choose a lower-memory card to avoid slowdowns or crashes.
  3. Your budget. Not all cards are at the same price point, and the amount of memory on each one varies accordingly. You’ll want to determine what kind of performance you’re looking for and determine which cards fit that bill at an affordable price.
  4. Game optimization considerations. Some games require more memory than others to run smoothly on high-end hardware setups, especially for older PC games that still need to be updated for newer hardware configurations. Check the game’s requirements before making a purchase decision so that you’re later satisfied when upgrading your rig and finding out that the game no longer runs properly due to insufficient graphics card memory allocation.
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Which GPUs Provide Enough GPU Memory?

GPUs come in different sizes with different amounts of memory. To calculate how much memory a GPU needs, you need to know the size of the buffer that the GPU can use. The table below lists the maximum amount of different memory GPUs that can use.

GPU Memory Size Max Amount

AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB 8192 MB

AMD Radeon R9 295X2 8GB 25600 MB

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB 8192 MB

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB 17408 MB

Best Practices for GPU Memory

More memory typically means better performance when it comes to graphics processing units (GPUs). However, not all GPUs have the same amount of memory, so knowing how much you need depends on your specific configuration.

To figure out how much GPU memory you need, first, determine the maximum frame rate (fps) you want to achieve. Next, use this fps number as a baseline and multiply it by the amount of video RAM your GPU has.

This calculation will give you the approximate amount of memory that you need. Some GPUs have less video RAM than others, so check your card’s documentation to ensure accuracy.

If you’re unsure about how much memory your card has or want to be safe, err on the side of caution and add an extra 512MB or 1GB of memory to your total budget. This way, if your card needs more than what is available on board, you’ll still have enough room to work with.

Tips on Purchasing a New GPU

If you need to figure out how many graphics processing units (GPUs) your computer needs, consult the manufacturer’s documentation or a dedicated online resource like PCWorld’s best graphics cards roundup.

  1. A graphics card requires power and cooling, so factor these into your purchase decision. Make sure to find out what kind of connectors your new GPU uses and any required adapters or cables.
  2. Be aware that some GPUs offer better performance than others at a given price point; always compare specifications before purchasing.
  3. Lastly, upgrading your graphics card is typically a relatively straightforward process; just be sure to have all the necessary components and tools on hand before beginning.
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How to Calculate GPU Memory Requirements

GPU memory requirements depend on the type of graphics card and the level of detail you want to render. Most users require a minimum of 4GB (graphics card) or 8GB (CPU). However, as your scene complexity increases, more memory may be needed.

To calculate your GPU memory requirements:

  1. Determine the amount of data that is going to be processed by your application at any given time. This can be determined by analyzing how much geometry is being drawn, and the number of textures applied at any given time. 
  2. Multiply the amount of data by 4 or 8 to estimate how much memory a graphics card with that amount of data will use. For example, if you use a graphics card with 1GB of memory and expect to generate 500MB of data at any given time, your estimated memory requirement would be 8GB or 16GB, respectively. 
  3. Check with the manufacturer’s specifications to verify that this much memory will indeed work in your system. If not, upgrade your graphics card or configure your computer differently so that it can take advantage of the additional memory available on your system.


In this article, we have discussed how much GPU memory you need and the different types of graphics cards. After reading this article, you have been better equipped to decide which type of graphics card is best for your needs.

Remember that the more memory a graphics card has, the faster it can render high-resolution images and videos.

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Matt Wilson
By Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is a PC gaming and hardware expert with years of experience. He's a trusted tech product reviewer for gamers and tech enthusiasts.

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