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The More Memory A Graphics Card Has, The Faster It Is!

People love big numbers. Who doesn’t? Every time they see big numbers, their mindsets change to those of gleeful giggling little school girls and they just jump on them.

Like what we mentioned in the PSU myth, not all big numbers are useful. There’re a lot more factors at play rather than just memory size.

Ed : Almost everyone I know thinks the bigger the memory size, the faster the graphics card! The first thing they always ask, 'how much memory does it have?'.

If I get a penny for every person who thought he was the smartest man ever by buying a card with a lousier GPU and more memory over one with a better GPU but less memory, I would be rich! Generally, there's more to just having a larger framebuffer under the hood.

First of all, the GPU or graphics processor is engine of the graphics card. It determines just how fast the each frame is rendered. In fact, the rendering speed of the GPU is far more important than the size of the frame buffer.

Even if both cards have similarly fast GPUs, we need to check the memory bus width. Irrespective of the size of the graphics memory, new graphics cards can have a memory bus width that varies from 64-bits to 512-bits. A wider memory bus allows for a higher memory bandwidth, which improves performance.

All else being equal, a 256-bit memory bus will have twice the memory bandwidth of a 128-bit memory bus. Size isn't everything. Remember to look out for the 'Memory Interface' or 'Memory Bus Width' specification before you buy your graphics card.

You should also look out for the memory speed. Graphics card manufacturers have been known to pull the wool over your eyes by giving you twice as much graphics memory as competing cards, albeit only at half the clock speed. Although you may end up with a lot more graphics memory, they will cause your card to perform much poorer than competing cards with faster memory.

Next, we need to think about the type of memory used in a graphics card. If you compare DDR to GDDR3, which would be much faster albeit more expensive? Obviously, it’s the GDDR3. So, it's understandable when some manufacturers choose to buy higher quality but cheaper DDR memory instead of GDDR3 memory.

The higher quality allows the DDR memory to match the GDDR3 memory's speed, clock for clock. So what's the catch? After all, both are just as fast? Well, for one, imagine me cycling against Lance Armstrong. Even at the same speed, he would just be warming up, while I would be pumping for dear life! Needless to say, that doesn't bode well for reliability, power consumption, thermal output and other various factors.

So remember, the myth that more is better isn't always true. Although quantity is a quality of its own, sometimes you just can't beat good old-fashioned quality.


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