Why does Video RAM matter?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by hoya87eagle91, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. hoya87eagle91 macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2005
    I don't get much help from Apple's web site describing video RAM.

    What is the function, how critical is it for HD video editing, or manipulating PS2 - PS4 files, and how easy is it to upgrade this RAM if at all?

  2. 7031 macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2007
    First of all, it is not possible to upgrade the video RAM, except by replacing the graphics card, which is only possible with the Mac pro.

    Its purpose is essentially to function as RAM, specifically used by your graphics card. In my experience it's been most important while gaming, but for rending it's probably not a huge deal unless you're doing 1080p. See what other people here say.
  3. bmb012 macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2006
    Bah, the only reason you'd want to worry about VRAM is if you're playing games that take up a ton of VRAM, or the few productive programs that do, mostly related to realtime previews in Motion or 3d software, nothing related to rendering.

    Though I don't know how much VRAM OpenCL takes up, though, but I'd imagine it would be almost nothing.
  4. hoya87eagle91 thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2005
  5. KeriJane macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2009
    Video RAM IS important for reasons other than Gaming.

    It is important for Video Editing. Many Video Editing programs use the Video Card during Capture and probably during Rendering as well. These programs do not like underpowered, short on memory or "shared System Memory" video cards very much.
    I found this out the hard way years ago.

    It is also used in any other graphics-intensive program such as Photoshop and 3-D modeling programs.

    Usually, the programs that make extensive use of the Video Card say so on the "System Requirements" label.


    Pinnacle Studio 14 requires the following Hardware:

    System Requirements:

    Windows® 7, Windows Vista® (SP2),Windows XP (SP3)
    Intel® Pentium® or AMD Athlon™ 1.8 GHz (2.4 GHz or higher recommended) - Intel Core™ 2 or i7 2.4 GHz required for AVCHD* (2.66 GHz for AVCHD* 1920)
    1 GB system memory recommended, 2 GB required for AVCHD*

    DirectX® 9 or 10 compatible graphics card with 64 MB (128 MB or higher recommended) - 256 MB required for HD and AVCHD*

    DirectX 9 or higher compatible sound card
    3.3 GB of disk space
    DVD-ROM drive to install software

    Generally speaking, the "System Requirements" are an absolute minimum specification. You would normally want to exceed them quite a bit for fluid performance.

    Have Fun,
    Happy New Year!

    PS> The Video RAM is only part of the equation. The bandwidth of a card also affects performance. A card with a 128 or 256-bit bus will outperform a cheap 64-bit card for video editing even with the same amount of Video RAM.
  6. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    VRAM is also important when driving multiple, large high-res displays. Say you have two 30" LCDs (typically 2560x1600) attached to a 512MB video graphics card. Those two displays are essentially sharing that memory. Even things like desktop performance can suffer with multiple displays if you have lots of windows and/or several applications open.

    So no, it's not just for games. ;)
  7. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    Hell, it doesn't even do that much for games. Most games, unless run at VERY high resolutions, will run out of GPU crunching power long before they run out of VRAM.
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Speaking w/in the confines of Apple's world the video card is not used during capture and the video card is only used for rendering in Motion and Apple Color. FCP, Compressor, FCE, iMovie, etc., all use the CPU, not the GPU, for renders.


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