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How to Change the Memory Allocated to a Graphics Card

How to Change the Memory Allocated to a Graphics Card

Business owners that need to perform graphics-intensive tasks such as video editing or 3D modeling with their computers often buy high-end PCs with discrete video cards that have built-in, dedicated memory. However, entrepreneurs who use their business PCs for more routine tasks, such as word processing or creating spreadsheets, generally don’t require expensive video cards. Consequently, many businesses computers ship with on-board graphics adapters integrated into the motherboard that share RAM memory with the processor. While integrated video adapters are not as fast as dedicated cards, they do perform reasonably well for most business tasks. If you need to boost performance for an on-board video chip set, you can allocate more memory to the adapter in the system BIOS


Entering the BIOS

To change the amount of memory allocated to the on-board video card, you must change settings in the system BIOS. To enter the BIOS, log out of Windows and shut down the computer. After restarting the computer, tap the “Delete,” “F1,” or “F2″ key a few times as soon as you see the initial system POST screen or company logo screen appear. After a few seconds, your computer should display the BIOS menu screen. When the BIOS menu screen appears, you may have to log in with an administrator password depending on your system security options.

Finding the Video Card Settings

Various manufacturers use different types of software to handle system BIOS setting options. Consequently, finding the correct menu option for changing on-board video card memory settings may be easier with some models than with others. Nevertheless, the menu option you need to use to change the graphics adapter memory settings should be in “Advanced,” “Advanced Chip-set” “Advanced Features” or other similarly named section of the menu. You can use the arrow keys on the keyboard to navigate to the correct menu option or click the header if the system BIOS supports use of a mouse.

Changing the Memory Allocation

Once you find the section of the BIOS menu that contains the “Graphics Settings” or “Video Settings” option, changing the amount of memory allocated to the on-board video card is relatively simple. Just press “Enter” to select the menu option and then choose among the memory amount values listed with the arrow keys or your mouse. Typical values listed in the BIOS are 32MB, 64MB, 128MB and 256MB. After you select the desired memory allocation amount for the graphics adapter, press the “F10″ key or click the “Save Changes and Exit” option at the bottom of the BIOS menu screen. After you save the changes and exit the BIOS, the computer restarts and applies the new memory settings for the onboard video card automatically.

Performance Considerations

The more RAM you allocate to the onboard graphics adapter, the better the video chipset will perform. However, allocating more memory to the video card does reduce the amount of system RAM available to the processor for running applications. Therefore, you should select the lowest memory value that allows you to use the system without video card memory performance issues issues. If you only need the occasional video performance boost, you can increase the amount of allocated video memory temporarily and then return the value to a lower setting when you finish performing the video-intensive task. Just be sure that you don’t open too many other applications while running the video-intensive application, or the system may run out of memory if you do not have enough RAM.

Alternative BIOS Entry Keys

If pressing the “Delete,” “F1″ or “F2″ keys does not display the BIOS menu screen, press the “Pause” key as soon as the computer boots. Check for a message near the bottom of the screen that displays the keys you need to press to enter the BIOS. Press the “Pause” key again, then tap the appropriate key a few times until the BIOS menu appears. If no such message appears during the boot process, refer to the user guide for your motherboard or system to determine which key you need to press to enter the system BIOS

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