VRAM has increasingly become a contentious detail for entry-level PC Gaming over the last ten years. How much do you really need? When is it too much and essentially left unused? Well, that question usually depends on what resolution you are gaming at, along with the settings being used. For a while now, 4 GB of VRAM has been the standard for 1080P gaming. That does seem to be changing in 2020. Those looking for budget-oriented GPUs may need to put greater consideration into 6 GB or 8 GB solutions, going forward. AMD Product Marketing Specialist Adit Bhutani recently posted “Game Beyond 4 GB” on the AMD blog.
Recent releases have shown marked performance increases when switching from a Radeon 5500 XT 4 GB to a Radeon 5500 XT 8 GB. In DOOM Eternal, the 8 GB card runs the game at Ultra Nightmare settings at 75 FPS (1080p), while the 4 GB card can’t apply the graphics settings with that level of VRAM. Looking at titles such as Borderlands 3, Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Forza Horizon 4, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, there is a performance improvement on average of up to 19% across these games when using the same card and increasing the amount of VRAM from 4 GB to 8 GB.
4 GB vs 8 GB
Larger amounts of VRAM are normally only needed at higher resolutions, like 1440P or 4K. Prior to the more recent 4 GB offerings, we saw many low-cost cards with 2 GB. If this trend is holding true, then we are seeing VRAM needs double once again. VRAM utilization can also depend greatly on the game. Some engines will barely use anything, while others will try to consume as much as possible. A few months back, Brent actually reviewed both variants of AMD’s Radeon RX 5500XT for this very issue. Results were mixed, but some games did show noticeable performance gains. You can read his review here.