Difference Between Core Clock and Memory Clock

Difference Between Core Clock and Memory Clock

You may have browsed through some stores looking to buy a GPU and may have noticed a lot of digits along with the GPU names. Have you ever wondered what those numbers are and how many roles they play in the effectiveness of a specific GPU?

Along with the name of the GPU, the most significant specification of any GPU is its core speed (core clock) and memory or VRAM (memory clock). 

This article will clear all your doubts and give all the necessary information on the difference between core clock and memory clock in GPUs.

Both of the above-mentioned specifications are necessary for graphics rendering and are equally important in determining how fast or how effective a GPU is gonna be. 

However, it is important to tell them apart in order to get to know the architecture of the GPU better.

Basic Understanding Of The Terms

Before getting into the detailed stuff of how the core clock and memory clock affect the overall GPU’s performance, it is important to understand what these terms actually mean. 

Core Clock Speed

Core Clock Speed is the rate at which the central processing unit (CPU) of a computer is running. It is measured in megahertz (MHz) or gigahertz (GHz). A higher clock speed means that the CPU can process more information per second.

The CPU has a clock that ticks at a certain rate, and each time the clock ticks, the CPU can perform a certain number of operations. 

The clock speed is measured in hertz (Hz), which is the number of times the clock ticks in one second. One hertz equals one tick per second.

One megahertz (MHz) equals one million ticks per second, and one gigahertz (GHz) equals one billion ticks per second. So, a CPU with a clock speed of 1 GHz can perform one billion operations per second.

The clock speed is not the only factor that determines how fast a CPU can operate. The number of cores (the number of independent processors in a single physical package) and the amount of cache (memory that can be accessed quickly by the CPU) are also important.

Memory Clock Speed

Memory Clock Speed implies how fast can the processor fetch the necessary data from the memory and so on. It also measures how much data the available memory can hold at a single moment.

In the case of a CPU, the available memory is RAM (Random Access Memory)which is often called volatile memory because the data does not stay stored within the RAM, it is constantly being moved and deleted according to the needs of the computer.

Henceforth, available memory is called VRAM (Video Random Access Memory) and is only used by the GPU for processing tasks related to graphics.

Difference Between Core Clock and Memory Clock

Now that we have painted the general idea of what the core clock and memory clock on a GPU means, let us dig deep into their individual impacts on the GPU’s performance.

Impact of Core Clock Speed

The core clock simply means how fast the GPU chip works. It is the term that defines how fast graphics are gonna appear on your screen while you are playing a game or doing some rendering work. 

The core clock speed is affected by the number of cores, the amount of cache, and the speed of the bus that connects the CPU to the RAM. 

The bigger and faster the core clock, the better performance you will get in your games. This is why it is a general rule of thumb to go for a faster core clock GPU if you do not know anything about buying one. Faster core clock speed will give you better FPS in your games.

Impact of Memory Clock Speed

The memory clock speed simply determines how fast data is being made available by the GPU’s memory. The GPU uses a specially reserved VRAM which is different and faster than the RAM on the motherboard because of its function and it is closely available to the GPU.

The memory clock speed is affected by the type of RAM, the speed of the bus that connects the CPU to the RAM, and the CPU clock speed.

It determines how much data the memory can store and how fast can the GPU utilize it. Where the core of the GPU determines how quickly it can process data, its memory determines how much and how fast the data is being made available to the GPU.

If you have a GPU with little memory, the GPU after running out of its own memory will use the computer’s memory which is significantly slower than the VRAM. So, even with a fast core clock speed, the GPU will not perform well if you have insufficient or slow memory.

Choosing a GPU With Better Memory Speed

When choosing a graphics processing unit (GPU), it is important to consider the memory clock speed. The memory clock speed is the rate at which data can be transferred between the GPU and RAM. It is measured in megahertz (MHz).

The higher the memory clock speed, the faster the GPU can transfer data to and from RAM. So, a GPU with a higher memory clock speed will be able to process information faster than a GPU with a lower memory clock speed.

Type Of RAM

The type of RAM, the size of the bus that connects the GPU to the RAM, and the GPU clock speed all affect the memory clock speed.

When choosing a GPU, it is important to consider not only the memory clock speed, but also the type of RAM, the size of the bus that connects the GPU to the RAM, and the GPU clock speed.

The memory clock speed is not the only factor that determines how fast a GPU can operate. The number of cores (the number of independent processors in a single physical package) and the amount of cache (memory that can be accessed quickly by the GPU) are also important.

How To Check Your GPU Specifications

If you are using a GPU and have no idea about its clock and memory speeds, you can easily check it by downloading freely available software. 

One example of such software is GPU-Z. It is free software and when you run it, it will show you the complete details including its manufacturer, clock speeds, and even the version of the driver installed.

Conclusion

To sum it all up, both the core clock and memory play their own crucial part in the overall determination of a GPU’s performance. You cannot prioritize either one or the other in hopes of getting better performance results.

If you do not know what GPU to get in terms of clock speed, go for the higher clock speed. Whereas, in terms of memory, go for the latest generation available.

Here I conclude this article which was on the topic “difference between core clock and memory clock” and hope that it helped you in clearing your mind from all the doubts you had and in deciding which GPU to go for now.

FAQs

Is higher memory clock speed better?

A higher memory clock speed in terms of its capacity means that more data will be stored in the VRAM and the higher speed of the memory clock means that the GPU will be able to process the data faster and quicker. So, yes, the higher the memory clock speed, the better the performance.