The gaming industry has been evolving at a rapid pace over the years, with game developers focusing more on creating games with visually stunning graphics. As a result, gamers are increasingly demanding more powerful GPUs to run these games smoothly. However, many gamers still believe that 8GBs of VRAM GPUs are enough to handle modern gaming titles, but that's not the case.
Gaming has come a long way since the early days of gaming consoles and PCs. Today's games are more graphically demanding than ever before, and to run them smoothly, you need a powerful GPU. Graphics cards with 8GBs of VRAM were once considered high-end, but in today's world, they're barely enough to handle modern gaming titles. In this article, we'll take a closer look at why 8GBs of VRAM GPUs aren't enough for modern gaming titles and what you should consider when choosing a graphics card for your gaming needs.
What is VRAM?
VRAM or Video RAM is a type of memory that's built into a graphics card. It's responsible for storing the images and textures that are displayed on your screen. The more VRAM your graphics card has, the more data it can store, which means it can handle higher-resolution textures and run more demanding games smoothly.
Many demanding workloads such as 3D modeling and CAD require the use of high VRAM graphics processing units due to the number of polygons and capabilities needed to be shown visually to the designer.
GPU memory also plays a part in other productivity workloads like deep learning where data needs to be readily accessible to accurately train, test, and deploy models. NVIDIA’s DLSS 3.0 is an AI frame-generation technology that requires the need for additional video memory to help with upscaling and frame generation.
Why 8GBs of VRAM GPUs aren't enough for modern gaming titles
As the demand for more graphically intensive games increases, so does the demand for more VRAM. While 8GBs of VRAM was once considered enough, it's no longer the case with modern gaming titles. Games like Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and Red Dead Redemption 2 require more than 8GBs of VRAM to run smoothly at all resolutions with good graphics. Even further iterations of multi-player shooters like Halo Infinite, Doom Eternal, and more start to suffer. The amount of FPS in these fast-paced games is crucial. When playing at higher resolutions and refresh rates, visual fidelity plummets causing gamers to lose their competitive edge.
We can see new games played on just last-generation hardware struggling to have smooth gameplay. NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti (8GB) versus the RX 6700 XT (12GB) showcase this problem when playing on low-quality cards; the 8GB 3070 Ti experience very poor 1% lows when loading new textures and sometimes refuse to load textures whereas the RX 6700 XT was able to sustain the game at a stable framerate.
In addition to the increased demand for VRAM, newer graphics cards also feature faster memory speeds, which means they can process data more quickly. This results in smoother gameplay and fewer frame rate drops. While performance and users will suggest that the 3070 Ti has better performance than the RX 6700XT, once the 8GB of RAM cap is hit, it gets hard to suggest those cards.
The development of new games on Unreal Engine 5.1 continues to push past the 8GB minimum requirement for games. Developers that use Unreal Engine 5.1 are pushing the capabilities of graphical fidelity with better ray tracing, nanite, and realistic textures, all of which require more memory to run smoothly even on 1080p.
A low-end 12GB GPU can still sustain constant FPS which is significantly better than 8GB GPU’s FPS which fluctuates drastically.
What should you consider when choosing a graphics card?
When choosing a graphics card, you should consider several factors, including VRAM, clock speed, and thermal design power. VRAM is essential for handling higher-resolution textures and running demanding games smoothly. Clock speed determines how quickly the GPU can process data, while thermal design power determines how much power the GPU requires to operate.
Of course, you should always consider CPU bottlenecking as well, ensuring the GPU is fed enough processing power from other components. High clock speeds and more cores enhance the graphical workload distribution to the GPU so that your utilization is optimized.
You should also consider the type of games you want to play and the resolution you want to play them at. If you're a casual gamer who only plays less demanding games and eSports titles (CSGO, Rocket League, Valorant, etc.), an 8GBs VRAM GPU may be enough. However, if you're a gamer who wants to play the latest and most demanding games at high resolutions, high refresh rates, and high framerate, you should consider a graphics card with more VRAM, faster clock speeds, and higher memory bandwidth.
In conclusion, while 8GBs of VRAM GPUs can get simple gaming and productivity workloads done in a pinch, they aren't good enough in terms of longevity. As games become more graphically intensive, the demand for more VRAM increases. To run the latest and most demanding games smoothly, you should consider a graphics card with more VRAM, faster clock speeds, and higher memory bandwidth like the RTX 4090 (24GB), and RTX 4080 (16GB).
Last-generation NVIDIA mid-tier cards (3060 Ti up to the 3070 Ti) just don’t cut it when playing visually demanding games with their lackluster 8GBs of memory. AMD did in their due diligence in their last generation GPUs with their mid-tier GPUs slotting in at 12GB and 16GB.
When choosing a graphics card, consider the type of games you want to play and the resolution you want to play them at, or be safe and opt for a graphics card with at least 12GBs. Snag a top-tier GPU from the last generation used to market or ensure longevity with this generation's GPUs around the 16GB target.
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