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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Video Cards | Video Memory Technologies ]

Standard (Fast Page Mode) DRAM

The oldest technology used in video card memory, fast page mode (FPM) memory is now considered "standard" DRAM as it has the fewest performance-enhancing capabilities of the different types of memory on the market. FPM DRAM is a technology used primarily for main system memories (even there, it is now considered a poor performer) and is not really well-suited for high-performance video applications.

Note: Cards that use standard FPM DRAM often just say they use "DRAM", which is imprecise, since every type of video memory used on cards today is a form of DRAM. See here for more on what DRAM is all about in a general sense.

FPM is the least expensive type of memory available for video, and is used today mostly on low-end or generic cards (as well as older cards of course). For many applications they can be quite satisfactory; however, they reach their limits quickly when trying to use high resolution modes, especially in true color.

The limitations of standard DRAM are due to two primary effects: it is single ported (which means it can only do one access at a time) and it runs at a relatively low speed and access width. Newer technologies improve performance by dual porting the memory (VRAM), increasing the bandwidth of the memory (SGRAM, MDRAM) or both (WRAM).

Next: Extended Data Out (EDO) DRAM

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