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Total Available Graphics Memory: Everything You Need to Know

Confused about checking or increasing your Total Available Graphics Memory. Or maybe you just want to know what it actually means? We’ve got you covered!

Off the bat, this may seem rather simple because you can see how much RAM you have and you can see how much storage space you have- so there is definitely a way to figure out how much graphics memory you have right?

You can check your Total Available Graphics Memory by going to About Your PC, then to Display, then Advanced Display Settings.

You will see a number that indicates your Total Available Graphics Memory there.

We have the number now, but what does that number mean? Often, this number will be far greater than your normal graphics memory, so where does it come from and what effect does it have on your PC?

This quick guide will tell you everything you need to know about Total Available Graphics Memory, why it matters, and how to increase it.

What Makes Up Total Graphics Memory?

The Total Graphics Memory is a combination of all the different parts of graphic memory you have available. This means your System Video memory, your Dedicated Video Memory and your Shared System Memory come together to create the Total Graphics memory.

When running a program of any kind, it is going to be drawing from the Total Graphics Memory. Whether you have an onboard graphics card or an integrated one, you will always be drawing from this memory pool.

What Does Total Graphics Memory Do?

At any given time, your computer will not be using all of your Total Graphics Memory. Most of the time, there is a very little needed as your normal programs like the internet and other small-scale programs barely need any of it.

Where it comes into play is when you start running the top-of-the-line games and other intensive visual programs and when that happens, your computer draws from the Total Graphics Memory to make sure it can display the images your games and programs require.

What Parts Are Most Important to Total Graphics Memory?

The most important part of your Total Graphics Memory is the VRAM. This is the way your computer is able to access stored image data on your display at any time and makes sure that you have perfect graphics when they are required by a particular program.

A lot of programs don’t require much VRAM to work well, but others need a rather large amount to do the job you want them to do. There are various types of VRAM as well with each fulfilling a slightly different purpose within your computer.

Simply put, more VRAM is always the better option when it comes to running high end games, so if you are thinking about purchasing one of the heavy hitters, do some research on your machine to see if it has the VRAM available to handle such a task.

Dedicated Graphics Cards vs Integrated Graphics Cards for Increasing Total Graphics Memory

Almost always, a dedicated graphics card is going to give you more Total Graphics Memory than an integrated graphics card. Integrated cards, even though they have made great strides in recent years, just can’t compete with a quality dedicated card.

If you are thinking about increasing your VRAM to get more memory on your system, there is only one way to do that and that’s switching your graphics card. Generally, this means if you have an integrated graphics card, you are going to be upgrading to a dedicated one.

Note: We have a full guide to determining whether a Dedicated or Integrated GPU is the right choice for you and we also have an in-depth guide to why VRAM matters and how to optimally handle it.

Laptop Graphics Memory

For laptops, upgrading your GPU is usually not an option unless you want to explore the headache that is replacing a graphics card on a laptop. If that’s the case, then there are internal options available to take care of increasing the amount of VRAM you have.

First off, we are going to enter the computer’s BIOS, here we are going to look for the advanced features, and then advanced chipset features. Once in that menu, you will see a category called Graphics Settings or something pretty similar to that.

From here, you can basically trick your system into increasing the VRAM you have to use. The way we do this is by modifying a registry value to simply change the amount of VRAM that the system reports to your videogames.

While you aren’t producing VRAM out of thin air, you are creating a new value, which tells your system that can run games that you previously were unable to run because of a lack of VRAM. By faking this value, we can give the computer the ability to run games that seemed impossible to run in the past.

  • To get to this area, we are going to head to Start Menu, regedit and then HKEY_LOCAL_Machine\Software\Intel
  • Right click the Intel folder and choose New>Key.
  • Name the folder and right click the folder.
  • Select New>DWORD Value. Name this folder DedicatedSegmentSIze and choose a value that is labeled with a decimal. The minimum value you can give here is 0 which makes it useless. The maximum is 512 which is a bit too lofty, so somewhere in the middle ground you will find something that gives you great performance and is stable to run your games on.
  • Restart the computer and start up your game to see if the difference took hold.

What Systems Use VRAM?

Have you ever wondered how your amazing graphics come on the screen so fast after you decide to bring them up? Well, that is all taken care of a part of your Total Available Graphics Memory called VRAM. If you are playing a game, the VRAM is the memory that is being used to keep the image smooth and on screen.

RAM is a term commonly understood in the computer world, but when it comes to gaming, that is when VRAM is the star of the show. If you don’t have enough VRAM, some games just won’t run. While indie games generally won’t cause this, the bigger titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 and games of that ilk command an insane number of graphic resources to render properly. If you don’t have enough VRAM these types of games will sometimes completely fail to start.

If a game does start but the VRAM is getting low, you will start to see things such as slowdown, artifacting (check out our guide to identifying and solving artifacting), and the worst of the bunch, stuttering. If you have ever seen your games having some strange stuttering every time you move in game, that is likely because of VRAM running low.

If you use the above methods to falsely increase the VRAM available, just know that you are putting your system into the highest state of performance and it’s possible that crashes could still result from the changes in the system settings.

Final Thoughts & Recommendations

While it isn’t always the most apparent within your every day going ons with your computer, the Total Available Graphics Memory is as important as anything in your computer to power the top of the line games and programs.

There are ways to increase it that generally revolve around tweaking your system from the BIOS menu, but the ultimate way to get more graphics memory for your system is to invest in a new graphics card.

Make sure you are choosing a card that has much more memory capabilities than the previous one. Unless you have a dying GPU, there’s no reason to upgrade if you’re only going to get a very marginal improvement.

Your Total Available Graphics Memory is one of the most valuable the resources you can have as a serious gamer, so also take care in using programs that use too much of it at one time.

Disable background processes, lower the graphics on things such as menus too. All of these adjustments will toward using less video memory so it can be all saved up for use running a heavy-duty, AAA game on your system.

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