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What is the difference between SDRAM and VRAM?

Answer: Computer memory is commonly referred to as RAM, or Random Access Memory. Both SDRAM and VRAM are types of RAM, but they are used for different purposes.

SDRAM is the primary memory used by computers and is located in memory slots on the motherboard. It is used to load the operating system and running programs. Therefore, the more SDRAM your computer has, the more programs it can run at one time. Having an abundant amount of SDRAM may also allow your computer to run faster that a similar machine with less RAM. This is because more data can be loaded from the hard drive and stored in memory, which enables it to be accessed more quickly.

VRAM is short for "Video RAM" and is used to store graphics data. VRAM is typically located on the computer's video card, though on computers with an integrated video chip (such as entry-level laptops), it may be located next to the video processor. Regardless of where the VRAM is located, its purpose is to load and store video data. The more VRAM a computer has, the more 2D and 3D images it can display at one time. Therefore, computers with lots of VRAM have large buffers for 3D graphics and can produce faster frame rates than machines with limited VRAM. This is helpful when playing 3D games and using 3D rendering applications.

Published: August 20, 2009 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center