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Gamer Installs Crysis 3 On GeForce RTX 3090's VRAM - And It Runs

(Image credit: Twitter)

The RTX 3090 might be overpriced for a gaming card, especially with 24GB of VRAM you will never fully saturate...or will you? Strife212 on Twitter had the genius idea of using that 24GB frame buffer to run Crysis 3, but not in the way you think.

Using a program called "VRAM Drive" Strife212 was able to make a 15GB virtual disk on the RTX 3090's VRAM and physically install Crysis 3 onto it, leaving 9GB of VRAM remaining for Crysis 3 to use as graphics memory, which is plenty for any video game by today's standards. 

She reports Crysis 3 loads fast, and performance is really good (screenshot shows 75FPS). She ran Crysis 3 at 4k very high settings with VRAM utilization barely hitting the 20GB mark. 

This is really cool to see, VRAM is the fastest memory-solution in your system, exceeding the performance of system RAM, so using it as an SSD should yield some amazing loading times for video games. And theoretically, you can do this with any graphics card, as long as the game fits inside your GPU's frame buffer.

However, the real-world application for this is quite small, today's NVMe SSDs load games very quickly making this use case very niche (plus additional software features like RTX I/O will reduce load times further). But it's still a cool concept, perhaps giving us a little sneak peek into what SSDs of the future will be like for gaming.

  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Remember the Radeon Pro SSG? Given the bandwidth of PCIe 4 and 5 which will not restrict GPUs for some time to come, I wonder if we will start seeing GPUs with their own M.2 slots on the back? Imagine how useful it would be for a mATX build which only has 1 M.2.
    Reply
  • DZIrl
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    Remember the Radeon Pro SSG? Given the bandwidth of PCIe 4 and 5 which will not restrict GPUs for some time to come, I wonder if we will start seeing GPUs with their own M.2 slots on the back? Imagine how useful it would be for a mATX build which only has 1 M.2.

    Real benefit of VRAM is in its width, 384 bits compared to standard PC of 64 bit. SSD, NVMe, is just 2 serial channels. Also, why to extend GPU memory when manufacturer could charge you much more for VRAM.
    As an idea for mATX might be ok but then, why not CPU too?
    Reply
  • ITX God
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    Remember the Radeon Pro SSG? Given the bandwidth of PCIe 4 and 5 which will not restrict GPUs for some time to come, I wonder if we will start seeing GPUs with their own M.2 slots on the back? Imagine how useful it would be for a mATX build which only has 1 M.2.

    That's basically the idea with the PS5 SSD. It has a direct connection to the VRAM via the Kraken decryption chip. Future AAA titles will be designed with this architecture in mind.
    Reply
  • epobirs
    Crysis 3 is fairly ancient, coming out in early 2013 when the PS3 and Xbox 360 were still the core consoles in the market. If we want to talk about something modern that will seemingly use all the VRAM it can get, look to the latest release of Flight Simulator, with everything turned up to eleventy. This may be an outlier compared to most recent games but the same can be said for the first major games to demand 8GB, which nobody considers remarkable today.
    https://www.tweaktown.com/news/74642/flight-simulator-at-8k-requires-16gb-of-vram-geforce-rtx-3090-needed/index.html
    Reply
  • funguseater
    epobirs said:
    Crysis 3 is fairly ancient, coming out in early 2013 when the PS3 and Xbox 360 were still the core consoles in the market. If we want to talk about something modern that will seemingly use all the VRAM it can get, look to the latest release of Flight Simulator, with everything turned up to eleventy. This may be an outlier compared to most recent games but the same can be said for the first major games to demand 8GB, which nobody considers remarkable today.
    https://www.tweaktown.com/news/74642/flight-simulator-at-8k-requires-16gb-of-vram-geforce-rtx-3090-needed/index.html
    The game is running on the GPU's memory, not the PC's RAM, that is what this is about, not how much vRam the game normally uses. I used to use these ram harvesting TSR's back in the day to skim 250KB of ram off my EGA card to use for DOS text mode. Every KB counted back then.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    DZIrl said:
    Real benefit of VRAM is in its width, 384 bits compared to standard PC of 64 bit. SSD, NVMe, is just 2 serial channels.
    The VRAM's bandwidth is of little importance for RAM-disk purposes since it ends up bottlenecked by the 4.0x16 bus' 32GB/s raw capacity, half of dual-channel DDR4-3200's bandiwdth. Also, NVMe on PCs is usually x4, not x2. Some motherboards do have NVMe lanes shared with SATA ports where using one of those SATA ports reduces NVMe from x4 to x2.
    Reply
  • russell_john
    ITX God said:
    That's basically the idea with the PS5 SSD. It has a direct connection to the VRAM via the Kraken decryption chip. Future AAA titles will be designed with this architecture in mind.

    Not exactly true, both the Sony and the Xbox are using the 4 lanes of PCIe 4.0 built into the Ryzen 3700 chiplet ..... The reason Sony's is faster sans compression is because it uses all 4 lanes and is the exact same speed as my NVMe M.2 drive (5 GB/s) while Microsoft went a different route using only 2 PCIe lanes for the internal SSD (2.5 GB/s) and chose to use the other two for their external NVMe drive meaning their external drive will be just as fast as the internal drive .... 5 GB/s is just a theoretical speed that is seldom if ever reached in practice and only for large files like HD video. Games and most programs on the other hand are made up of many smaller files and won't reach those speeds .... While both company's marketing (AKA Corporate Propaganda) push this theoretical nonsense like it was fact the actual truth of the matter the compression they are using is more for making large game files smaller so you can get more on the drive and again 2 times compression is the theoretical limit and is seldom reached in practice unless the files are simple text files or something like that ..... Another use is for the Series X fast resume, likely they'll image (a form of compression) the game memory onto the SSD and then stream it back into memory when needed and that is where you will see it shine as an image is one large file which is where you start hitting the theoretical top speeds

    Will they be fast? Yes especially compared to the nearly obsolete hardware they are replacing but a lot of it is just marketing BS ..... Right now it's completely impractical to do texture streaming like Sony's marketing talks about and still have backwards compatibility to the PS4 or compatibility with any system other than the PS5 ..... Microsoft's implementation will prove to be better because they are making it cross platform so it will eventual work with both the Series X and the PC ...... It's no longer Xbox vs PS ..... It's Xbox AND PC vs PS and those combined markets are bigger than PS alone .... Even Sony is seeing the light which is why they are porting exclusives over to the PC or they'll get left behind because there is no money in selling consoles, the money is in selling the most games
    Reply
  • spentshells
    What a cool Idea! When we were still using single core Athalon chips, I used to make ram drives and install unreal tournament to it. Nice to see this has been improved upon.
    Reply
  • Shadowclash10
    VRAM is the fastest memory-solution in your system, exceeding the performance of system RAM, so using it as an SSD should yield some amazing loading times for video games.

    I'm a bit confused here.... I was under the impression that games don't really benefit from super fast SSDs that much right now - they aren't optimized from it yet. Especially not a game as old as Crysis 3. So the loading times should really be equivalent to any SSD, not really faster than one?
    Reply
  • escksu
    The article is wrong. It doesn't work that way. VRAM may be fast, but its only fast between GPU and VRAM.

    The processing is still done by CPU. So what really happens is that the data in VRAM transfers to system RAM via PCIE (31.5GB/s for PCIE 4.0).... Then CPU reads the data from RAM and process it.

    Even if you somehow bypass system RAM, you still can only communicate via PCIE.
    Reply