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Core Clock vs Memory Clock: GPU Memory Clock Explained

The components of the GPU operate at two different kinds of speed rates which are the Core Clock and Memory Clock. Many people get stuck between the values that are given in the GPU sheet or may become a victim of overclocking. You might want to know more about the clock speeds of the GPU to avoid being one of those people.

You will find terms and names you have not heard before if you are getting into clock speeds. Core Clock and the Memory Clock are among the main clock speeds of the GPU.

Many people confuse the two speeds and for this purpose, this article will explain the difference between core clock and memory clock speed in the GPU.

Core Clock Speed vs Memory Clock Speed

GPU Memory Clock SpeedGPU Core Clock Speed
Speed of the VRAM on the GPUSpeed of the actual GPU chip on the card
Frequency of the VRAM on the GPUSpeed of the cores on the GPU
The number of cycles per second made by the memoryThe number of instructions that can be executed by the GPU every second.
Affects the overall performance less.Affects the overall performance more than the memory speed.
Difference between GPU Core Clock Speed and GPU Memor Clock Speed

GPU Memory Clock Speed Explained

The speed at which the data can be read and written on the graphics card is basically the GPU’s Memory Clock Speed.

It means that the value of the memory clock speed will decide the speed at which the graphics display on the screen. It is important to note that a high number for this speed will not be the best answer.

The speed should be set to the value that gives the most optimal performance of the GPU. However, a significantly lower speed of the Memory clock will hinder the smooth display of the graphic-intensive tasks on the screen.

The GPU’s memory clock speed does not only affect the graphics, but it also has a significant impact on the resolution and the textures of the game or display.

So, to sum up, the above data it is safe to say that the memory clock speed affects the number of frames per second or the FPS that the game runs at. The FPS is calculated in MegaHertz (MHz). A higher number will amount to higher performance but to a certain limit.

To increase the GPU Memory Clock Speed, you can either purchase a graphics card with higher memory. Another method is that you can overclock the current memory card that you are using.

The biggest drawback of increasing the speed is that the increased power consumption of the GPU results in the shortening of the lifespan of the GPU.

GPU Core Clock Speed Explained

This is the speed at which the GPU processed the data that is given to it.

The GPU’s clock speed affects the number of frames per second a game can be played in the GPU. But its role is not as important as the GPU Memory clock speed’s role in the resolution and the image quality.

You can increase the GPU core clock speed by increasing the graphics card or by overclocking the GPU if you feel that the base speed is not high enough.

person using computer playing FPS game

If you increase the core clock speed then the frame rate will also increase, so the games can be played at a higher setting. However, to accomplish this, you first need to balance the GPU memory clock speed. This will ensure that the image quality should remain high without hindrance/disruption.

If you overclock the graphics card then you can increase both the core clock speed and the memory clock’s speed. However, this will have an impact on the number of frames per second that the GPU can process. It will also affect the overall gaming experience.

Playstation, Computer, Console, Controller, Game, Gamer

Although this seems like a good thing for the overall experience of the user, you have to be careful. Overclocking the GPU may not be worth the side effects that it comes with.

If you feel that the base speed is not too low, don’t overclock. For every percentage of increase in overclocking, there is a two-fold increase in power consumption.

This is a phenomenon that overheats the GPU leading to overheating of the entire system. If you have the problem of overheating in GPU you can solve it through this link. This practice reduces the lifespan of the GPU and affects the health of the system.

Difference Between Core Clock Speed and Memory Clock Speed

The two clock speeds are basically the different kinds of speeds at which the GPU components execute and complete their respective tasks.

There are four main differences between the GPU core clock speed and GPU memory clock speed. I will explain these ones by one for you below.

The first and the foremost difference between the two clock speeds is that the memory clock explains to you the speed of the VRAM on the graphics card. While the GPU core clock speed is the speed of the actual GPU chips on the card.

core clock vs memory clock

In other words, the memory clock speed is the frequency of the VRAM on the GPU.

Whereas, the core clock speed explains the speed of the cores present on the Graphics Processor Unit. The cores on the GPU are quite similar to the ones on the CPU. Their basic structure shows a lot of similarities.

However, the CPU has to perform all kinds of functions while the GPU is made to do one task. These cores handle the graphics and the computing assets.

The other difference that can be pointed out here is that the memory clock speed is the number of cycles per second made by the memory. While the number of instructions that can be executed by the GPU every second is the core clock speed.

The speed of the memory clock does not affect the overall performance as much as the core clock speed does. The core clock speed has a higher impact on the overall performance of the GPU. However, in the long run, it is important to have a balance in the speed of the two clock speeds.

VRAM

The RAM that is utilized by the GPU is called the VRAM. The RAM that you put on your motherboard is the DRAM. Contrary to DRAM, the VRAM is able to hold the memory for the assets that the GPU may need. For example, keeping the shading textures for this grass.

Grass in Skyrim, Credits: Nexus Mods

The VRAM however, functions just like the DRAM does. the VRAM also clocks in the frequencies. As the speed of clocking the frequencies gets higher, the RAM can take, keep and replace the short-term information that is required. As the information on the DRAM is held, deleted, and replaced all the time

Impact of the Memory Clock Speed on the Frames Per Second (FPS)

The brief answer to this question is that the impact of the memory clock speed on the frames per second varies from game to game. The design and structure of each game vary. So the impact of the VRAM frequency can be higher for some games but overclocking may not be beneficial for some games.

So, we can say that the GPU Memory clock has an impact on the frames per second but it can vary from every game. Somewhere it can be 2% somewhere it can be 12%. The variation depends on the game that you have chosen.

Impact of the Core Clock Speed on the Frames Per Second (FPS)

The GPU core clock speed has a direct impact on the frames per second of the GPU. Since the GPU core clock speed will measure the speed of the graphics processor’s ability to process the graphics, an increase in the speed will increase the ability to process.

Overclocking the core clock speed increases the frames per second that the GPU can process. Hence, the impact here is visible and direct.

Test GPU Clock Speed and the Utilities

If you wish to upgrade your existing GPU and for this purpose, you want to test the current graphics card’s speed then a good idea will be to use tools like 3DMark or UserBencmark. These tools can test the graphics card’s speed, its performance, rate this speed, and compare it to other modern GPUs.

1. 3DMark

The 3DMark is an intense app that can test the GPU. 3DMark will put the heaviest load on the GPU and check if it can run under that load. Regardless of the low scoring, the goal of modern GPUs is to make it to the end of rigorous testing.

3DMark does not compare the performance to another card though. You will have to do that part yourself. It can give you the know-how of how your GPU will perform under situations that require heavy processing.

3DMark will also offer you to use some of its paid services that can allow you to use other benchmarks. It is available on iOS, Windows, and Android platforms.

2. UserBenchmark

UserBechmark is another app that allows you to test the GPU and its performance. It can test all the components of the GPU and your computer and then also score them. It scores these components in a range of percentile by comparing the sores of your system to the other tested systems of the same model.

The scoring is based on the performance as it is compared to the highest test received and the lowest test received.

3. GPU-Z

GPU-Z is another tool that you can use. It is a graphics monitoring tool that can help you in monitoring the speed of the GPU, its clock speeds, and the temperature of the GPU as well.

4. MSI Afterburner

If you wish to overclock the GPU despite all the warnings you have heard and read then head straight to the MSI Afterburner. It is a very simple-to-use application and serves all the requirements of customization and configuration of the GPU.

Conclusion

The GPU core clock speed and the GPU memory clock speed are the speeds of different components of the GPU. The speed of the VRAM on the graphics processing unit is the memory clock speed while the speed of the actual chip on the card is called the core clock memory.

Both the clock speeds have an impact on the proper functioning of the GPU. However, the GPU clock memory has a direct and higher impact on the frames per second while the GPU memory clock speed’s impact depends on the game that is being played.

GPU core clock speed and GPU memory clock speed can be overclocked in a balanced way to increase the performance of the GPU. However, overclocking is not suggested as this always results in the decrease of the performance of the GPU.

The performance, speed, and overall standing of the current GPU can be tested by using different utilities and applications available online. It is good to have this knowledge in case you are looking to upgrade your previous one.

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