Hogwarts Legacy, Cyberpunk 2077, and The Last of Us Part I are some of today’s most VRAM-heavy PC titles when played at 4K, according to new numbers that TechSpot shared for an article that asks the question: “Why are modern PC games using so much VRAM?” The Last of Us Part 1 is listed with peak VRAM usage of 12.4 GB, while Hogwarts Legacy and Cyberpunk 2077, can go even higher, with peak VRAM usage listed as 13.6 and 13.9, respectively, when ray tracing is enabled. Consoles are said to be a big factor as to why games these days are using more memory.
From a TechSpot report:
For all the titles we examined, every graphics quality and details variable was set to its maximum values (ray tracing was not enabled), and the frame resolution was set to 4K, with no upscaling activated. This was to ensure that we saw the highest memory loads possible, under conditions that anyone could repeat.
|Game||Average VRAM use (GB)||Peak VRAM use (GB)|
|Far Cry 6||5.7||6.2|
|Dying Light 2||5.9||6.2|
|Assassin’s Creed Valhalla||7.4||7.5|
|Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered||8.0||8.2|
|Far Cry 6 (HD textures enabled)||8.0||8.4|
|Resident Evil 4||8.9||9.1|
|The Last of Us Part 1||11.8||12.4|
Using 4K and the same graphics settings as before, but this time with every ray tracing option enabled or set to its maximum value, the VRAM loads change considerably.
|Game (RT enabled)||Average VRAM use (GB)||Peak VRAM use (GB)|
|Dying Light 2||7.4||8.2|
|Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered||9.2||9.6|
|Resident Evil 4||9.0||9.7|
|Far Cry 6 (HD textures)||9.9||10.7|
|Cyberpunk 2077 (Overdrive)||12.0||13.6|
[…] where PCs keep the meshes, materials, and buffers in VRAM, and the game engine (along with a copy of all the assets being used) in the system memory, consoles have to put everything into the same body of RAM. That means textures, intermediate buffers, render targets, and executing code all take their share of that limited space. In the last decade, when there was just 5 GB or so to play with, developers had to be extremely careful at optimizing data usage to get the best out of those machines.
This is also why it seems like games have just suddenly leaped forward in memory loads. For years, they were created with very tight RAM restrictions but as publishers have started to move away from releasing titles for the older machines, that limit is now two to three times higher.