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What is VRAM

What is VRAM?

General, Hardware, Industry, True Custom

There are multiple types of random access memory on the market at this point in time. This memory allows data items to be accessed in precise periods and have specified themselves over the years to carry out itemized functions. From random access memory that is used for loading and running programs to optimizing graphics power, VRAM is specifically used for storing image data that your computer will in turn display. The history of VRAM dates back to almost thirty years ago in an IBM research facility.


Invented by F.Dll, D. Ling, and R. Matick, the first patent released for VRAM was established in 1985. With rapid pace, VRAM exploded onto the commercial market the following year used in a high-resolution graphics adapters by IBM for the PC/RT system that set the new precedent for graphics displays. The release of this product ultimately lowered the costs of dual port memory for the common public to experience high level feeds.

How It Works

When a picture needs to be displayed on your screen, it is first read by the processor and then written to the VRAM. From there the image is then transferred to an analog converter where it is then converted into analog signals. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, VRAM is dual-ported. What this means is that it has two sets of data output pins that can be used at the same time. The first port is the DRAM port that is accessed by the host computer in a way that is almost identical to the way traditional DRAM receives it. The second port is then used for what we are all waiting for in VRAM, video. This port is nearly never used to write and primarily just receives, and its primary goal is to provide a highly detailed, serialized data channel for the graphics chipset. The VRAM process presents the display from flickering between the images that were just redrawn.

Different Types of VRAM

Each system is unique in its own way and requires the video memory suited for its daily operations. This is why multiple developers have gone one step further to design different types of VRAM. Synchronous Graphics RAM is clock synchronized that is normally sold at an inexpensive price. It uses masked write that can modify data in a single operation rather than a sequence of them.  Another form of VRAM is multibank dynamic RAM that was developed by MoSys Inc that is meant to utilize small banks of DRAM where each bank has its own individual in and out port that delivers data into one common internal bus. The design allows data to be read or written to multiple banks at a time making it much faster than DRAM, and it surprisingly comes at an inexpensive cost. Rambus Dynamic RAM is a memory subsystem that transfers up to 1.6 billion bytes per second at all times. Anyone into video photography normally prefers this card due to the fact that is utilized for streaming video at a consistent rate. A final type of VRAM is Windows Ram that achieves an even faster performance at a smaller cost. This was developed by Samsung to support two ports that enables a video adapter to retrieve the content of memory for display.


Being able to have a buffer between the CPU and the video card is a luxury that VRAM is meant to accomplish. This variant of DRAM is perfect for anyone that needs to optimize their video adapter, and will appeal to anyone looking on the creative side of the tech world.


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Daniel Oswald

Howdy! Dan here. I love to laugh, sing in the shower, and dance like no one is watching. Blog writer extraordinaire and sushi fanatic.

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