The graphics card is very important if you’re looking to accelerate graphical rendering. It’s important to understand the specifications that the graphics card comes with, for example, the memory clock and the core clock. While they look similar to someone that isn’t tech-savvy, they serve different purposes and have different influences on the performance of your computer.
In this post, we’re going to provide some information and context to those confusing numbers that come with your graphics card, by the end of the post, you should have a firm understanding of how your graphics card works.
Answer: The difference between memory and core clock is similar to the RAM and CPU clock speeds. Such instances where you may need a graphics card include Gaming, Video Editing, Machine Learning, Crypto mining, and 3D graphical rendering. So it’s quite obvious how important it is to have a graphics card whether it’s for a hobby or professional use. Knowing what to look for specification-wise can save you money and time.
What Is Core Clock Speed?
The core clock speed of a graphic card refers to the frequency at which the graphics processor operates. A typical graphics card will have a clock speed measured in GHz(Gigahertz), and it varies between GPUs. Usually, there is a base clock speed, and a boost clock speed, the boost clock speed activates when your system requires that extra power.
The GPU clock speed much like the CPU clock speed directly translates to how fast it processes information, a higher clock speed is obviously much better. If you’re a gamer, then the clock speed scales in a linear fashion with the FPS, so a 100MHz increase can make a massive difference. So if the game you’re playing maxes out at 45 FPS, a slight increase to the clock speed can push it to 60FPS.
Most of the time, the core clock speed is the metric most people will focus on, this is because it directly translates to performance. The memory clock speed isn’t as important as the core clock speed when it comes to direct performance, this is because the core clock speed refers to how fast graphical information is processed.
Should I Overclock GPU Core Clock Speed?
Overclocking your GPU core clock speed is a very good idea if you’re looking to improve your in-game performance. It is quite easy to do considering there are tools such as MSI Afterburner which is free and easy to install. Overclocking your core clock speed will linearly affect your FPS, so it makes the biggest impact when you want extra gaming performance.
Most graphics cards will automatically overclock when you’re gaming, this is what we refer to as boost clock speed. The boost clock speed will automatically activate when in-game for extra performance. With some graphics cards, you can expect a jump of 400MHz, and that can make a huge difference in-game
Overlocking your core clock speed is usually safe when done through MSI afterburner, but don’t go over the top as you can encounter instability issues. Not all graphics cards are made the same, so if someone is achieving higher overclocks than you, that means they’ve got a better graphics chip.
What Is Memory Clock Speed?
The memory clock speed refers to the speed of the VRAM on your graphics card, just like normal RAM, VRAM clock speed describes the speed of data transfer between itself and the graphics processor. VRAM which stands for Video Random Access Memory often comes with names such as GDDR5 or GDDR6, the latter operates much quicker.
The VRAM works just like the DRAM (RAM) on your PC, except it’s assigned to your GPU. The nature of VRAM is also non-volatile which means it deletes data when it loses power. Just like normal RAM, it has to work extremely quickly by storing and sending data from the GPU core. Overclocking can definitely help.
Faster memory clock speed will directly translate into faster data transfer between the graphics processor and the VRAM. This is beneficial in situations where you’re dealing with high-quality textures in games, or applications that store large graphical assets, so faster VRAM can help you game at higher resolutions.
Should I Overclock GPU VRAM?
Overclocking is when you push your components to work harder by increasing their clock speed, usually, this is done to increase performance. Overclocking the VRAM will increase the efficiency of your graphics card when storing and receiving graphical information. Overclocking your VRAM doesn’t usually cause problems, and it can be seen as a good idea.
Overclocking your VRAM can provide certain benefits just like overclocking your clock speed can, such improvements include higher frame rates when gaming, especially if the game is running at a high resolution. Usually, if you’re dealing with high-resolution textures, or just playing games at a high resolution, then overclocking your VRAM will have obvious effects, otherwise it’ll be harder to notice.
There are certain tools you can use to overclock your GPU, and generally, it is easier compared to overclocking your RAM or CPU. The best tool to overclock your graphics card is MSI afterburner which you can download for free, once you’re done overclocking your graphics card, you can run a benchmark to compare the differences in performance. Keep in mind, overclocking is relatively safe with graphics cards, but don’t be careless as you may cause instability issues.
Is The Memory Clock Speed Important For Gaming?
When gaming, your computer will heavily rely on your graphics card to process any information, for example, terrain and geometric data. The speed at which this information is processed is influenced by the core clock speed, so increasing the core clock speed will allow your graphics card to render and process information faster.
The memory clock speed is important in the sense it allows your graphics card to work with large graphical information. Overlocking your memory clock can result in smoother gameplay as the memory is able to send and receive graphical information faster. A lot of the time, stuttering is caused by insufficient VRAM, so faster VRAM can help with that.
So yes, the memory clock speed is important for gaming and shouldn’t be disregarded as a useless metric. The memory clock speed may not correlate to in-game performance, but it plays a role in the ability to play games smoothly and effectively. For example, the resolution you can play at is determined by the amount and speed of your VRAM.
In conclusion, memory and core clock speed play important roles in the function of the graphics card, and one isn’t more important than the other. However, for certain applications, one may excel over the other.
When gaming, the frames per second have a linear correlation with the core clock speed, so this is where the core clock speed beats the memory core clock speed. Increasing the core clock speed via overclocking will result in FPS increases.
The memory clock speed influences how effective the VRAM is at storing graphical data, so the memory clock speed beats the core clock speed when it comes to rendering games at higher resolutions, and reducing stuttering.