Graphics memory is the memory in the computer system that is used for processing the graphics. The memory is located on the graphics card and it is specialized memory. In an integrated CPU it is a small block on the system RAM which may be used by the processor and is no different in many ways as the other RAM systems.
The memory of the graphics card or the RAM does matter quite a lot but it is not very important when it comes to the model. Having more memory does not necessarily mean that those computers equipped with lesser memories will be inefficient or slower. It is not always true that a laptop that has a 2GB graphics card will outperform an older laptop with only 1GB of graphic card.
The graphics card is used to render as well as to store every pixel that is displays on the screen. The graphics are stored in memory that is the VRAM when it comes to gaming and the GPU does the calculations that are required for the display on the screen.
Majority of the games require a maximum of 2GB of memory in the graphic cards maximum settings. Something like the GTX 760 would be able to run those games (review here). Just look for the name and how much graphical memory a card has. To play a smoother and a faster game however, the user would require a faster GPU.
Graphics memory, overall, does not matter so much and vendors nowadays are selling expensive cards with large memories because the generally people have this misconception that a larger memory size of a graphics card means the card is faster and more efficient. The capacity of the memory of a graphic card does not have any impact on its performance as long as the settings that the user has do not use all of the memory.
The main aim of the graphics memory is to:
- Load textures
- Hold the depth buffer, that is the Z buffer
- Hold the frame buffer
- Hold other assets which are needed for the frame, that is the shadow map, for example
The textures and the size of the memory do depend on which the game the user is playing, for example a game such as the Skyrim is high resolution with a texture pack that has a 3GB of high quality of textures. Most of the applications use the graphics by loading and unloading as they are required and not all of them are needed in the memory of the graphics. So in a nutshell, the graphic cards memory allows a user to do the following quite easily:
- It allows the users to play games on higher resolutions
- It allows the users to play games on higher quality texture settings
- It allows the users to play with higher render based analyzing settings
Overall the graphics memory is important buy why graphic memory matters is because of the graphics and the resolution that is required especially if a person is an avid gamer and likes to play high resolution games.
Not all games however require high level of quality or pixels. Of course, a higher resolution game would obviously require higher amount of memory to be used and if a particular game requires a constant level of high quality to be maintained in the game, then better graphics would be required as well, which means a higher memory card would be needed.