Difference Between GPU Memory Clock and Core Clock of a GPU

Difference Between GPU Memory Clock and Core Clock of a GPU

Among the most confusing terms you can come by on a GPU spec sheet is the GPU memory clock and core clock of a GPU. Aside from what they serve for, what is the difference between the memory clock and the core clock of a GPU?

Are you struggling to check the GPU clock and wondering why it matters? Then here is an interesting guide for you: “A Complete Guide on How to Check GPU Clock”.

Again, it feels confusing, right? But worry not, this guide is all you were looking for. It will lay down the “to-the-point” and “easy-to-understand” explanations of the memory clock and the core clock of a GPU, and the difference between the two.

With that said, let’s get started.

GPU Memory Clock Explained

gpu memory clock

Memory clock refers to the VRAM (don’t mix it with the DRAM which are the sticks that we put on the motherboard) of your GPU.

In other words, the memory clock is the frequency of the RAM of your GPU.

“What, does my GPU also have RAM?”

Yes, it does. And quite similar to the computer RAM, the RAM of the GPU (VRAM) is also used to store data temporarily.

However, the difference is VRAM stores various textures, effects, objects, and elements of the graphics of the game you’re playing or the program you’re using.

Now, the question arises “does VRAM or memory clock affect performance?”

Well, it does. A GPU with a FASTER VRAM can store data more quickly and increase the overall performance of the GPU. Similarly, a GPU with LARGER VRAM can store more data and free up some load of the GPU.

Summary: To sum things up:

  • Memory clock Is the RAM of your GPU also known as VRAM
  • It temporarily stores parts of the graphics (textures, effects, etc)
  • Higher and faster VRAM can offer better performance as compared to lower and slower VRAM (memory clock)
  • Memory clock (VRAM) can be overclocked

Core Clock Explained

Memory Clock and Core Clock on a GPU

The core clock of your GPU is the performance of your GPU’s main chip, also known as the processor of the GPU (don’t confuse it with the main processor of the computer).

The core clock refers to how fast your GPU can process the graphics data it receives. It is, in fact, a more important aspect of a GPU compared to memory clocks as it affects performance and FPS more. 

As a rule of thumb, it also offers significantly faster performance than memory overclocking.

Summary: To sum things up:

  • Core clock is the performance of GPU’s main chip
  • It refers to how fast your GPU can process data
  • It directly impacts the performance
  • It can be overclocked

What’s The Difference Between The Memory Clock and The Core Clock on a GPU?

Here are the main differences between the memory clock and the core clock of a GPU:

Memory Clock (VRAM)Core Clock
It is the RAM of your GPUIt is the performance of your GPU’s chip
The memory clock is also called the VRAM of a GPUThe core clock is also called the processor of a GPU
It temporarily stores data It helps in processing data
It impacts performance and FPS moreIt doesn’t significantly affect the performance and FPS

Does Memory Clock Affect Gaming?

The memory clock speed (VRAM) can affect gaming but not significantly. In fact, overclocking the GPU memory clock typically gives a negligible performance increase. However, it solely depends upon the game you’re playing.

Summary: Yes, but very slightly.

Does Memory Clock Speed Affect FPS?

The memory clock speed can affect FPS but not significantly. The improvement in FPS through the memory clock actually depends upon the game you’re playing and can be in the range of 1% to 10%.

Summary: Yes, but very slightly.

Does Boost Clock Matter?

The boost clock is the maximum clock speed a GPU can attain when in the normal mode before you turn on the GPU boost or overclock mode.

Now, does the boost clock matter?

Yes, it does, the boost clock directly affects the performance during your gaming. A higher boost clock promises a smoother gaming experience and vice versa. Typically, a clock speed of 3.5GHz to 4.0GHz is considered a good boost clock for gaming.

Summary: Yes it does, a lot.

If you want to know how we can check and control the overclocking of your GPU then here’s an article for you: Overclock your laptop GPU.

GPU Clock Speed Test and Utilities

If you want to test the clock speed of your GPU, you will need to use a GPU benchmark tool. Such a tool will allow you to stress test your GPU by putting graphics load on it and testing its stability, clock speed, single-core performance, memory clock, and so on.

Following are some great tools to run a clock speed test on your GPU:

1. Best for in-depth testings: GPU-Z

test the clock speed on your gpu

GPU-Z is so far the best tool to test the clock speed on your GPU. It lets you do that with a straightforward installation and interface. The most exciting part is, it gives you in-depth specifications of GPU that you might find extremely useful.

The downside of GPU-Z, however, is that it isn’t versatile enough to give details of your other components eg. CPU and RAM.

2. Best versatile: MSI Afterburner (RivaTuner)

testing the core speed of your gpu rivatuner)

MSI Afterburner or RivaTuner is the best versatile pick for testing the core speed of your GPU.

The reason I picked it as a versatile software is that it also offers a variety of advanced features like seeing the details of your other hardware parts as well, and to track the FPS in the games, etc.

What is a Good GPU Temperature?

What is a Good GPU Temperature

An optimal GPU temperature for gaming and high-end use should never exceed 85°C or 185°F, regardless of what the manufacturer of your GPU promises. However, a good practice is to make sure your GPU temperature is between 65°C and 85°C (149°F and 185°F).

Summary: 60°C-85°C (149°F and 185°F) is a good temperature range for a GPU.

Are you facing temperature issues? Here’s an amazing article for you on reducing GPU temperature.

The Final Say

Since GPU memory clock and GPU core clock are some overlapping terms, people often get confused when understanding their details.

And that’s what this guide is for. It thoroughly explains the difference between the memory clock and the core clock of a GPU in the most convenient way.

To sum things up, the memory clock is the VRAM of your GPU and temporarily stores graphics data while the core clock is the processing power of your GPU and refers to how fast your GPU is, in terms of processing data.

With that said, I hope this guide helped you find the appropriate answers to your questions. If it did, consider sharing it with your family & friends and help them out as well. See you!

FAQs Regarding Memory Clock of a GPU

Got questions? Below are the answers to the most-searched questions regarding the memory clock and the core clock of a GPU.

What is the difference between the GPU memory clock and the GPU core clock?

It refers to the VRAM of the GPU and serves up by temporarily storing graphics data. The core clock, on the other hand, is the processing power of the GPUs and is more important for performance.

What is a good GPU memory clock?

A base memory clock is a value of around 1750MHz. While you could take 7000MHz as a good memory clock for a GPU and 14000MHz as an effective memory clock according to Nvidia.

Is the core clock more important or a memory clock?

Since the GPU core clock directly affects the performance and FPS during gaming, it is significantly more important compared to the memory clock. But it doesn’t mean the memory clock has no value, it also impacts the performance to an extent.

What is a GPU memory clock?

It refers to the speed of the VRAM of your GPU. It means how fast the GPU can store the data like visuals, textures, and effects, etc. A higher memory clock can promise a smoother performance compared to a lower one.

What is a GPU core clock?

GPU core clock is simply the performance of the GPU’s main chip (also known as the processor of the GPU). It directly impacts the performance as it is responsible for processing the data. Higher clock speed results in higher performance and vice versa.

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