The Display Adapter properties displays 256 MB as Adapter RAM in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012

Applies to: Windows 8 EnterpriseWindows 8 ProWindows Server 2012 Foundation


Consider the following scenario:
  • You have a system that is running Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012
  • The system has on-board display adapter with 8 MB or 16 MB RAM
In this scenario, if you navigate to the Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Display\Screen Resolution\Advanced Settings, click [Advanced Settings]. Under the "Adapter" tab, you may notice the Adapter Type is Microsoft Basic Display Adapter and Total Available Graphics memory is 256 MB.

Note: Chip Type displays the actual Vendor information. Also, Msinfo32 shows you the correct Adapter RAM. For example: 8 MB or 16 MB.

The display adapter properties queries the information from the adapter to find out which driver is responsible for rendering. In this case, the driver rendering is Basicrender.sys. The Graphics model has changed in Windows Server 2012 and it requires the use of DirectX 9 or higher GPU.
For the computers that does not meet the criteria in Window Server 2012, there is a fall back driver called BasicRender which is implemented in the Basicrender.sys driver. BasicRender.sys uses system memory and it allocates a predefined size of 256MB.

Important: This memory value of BasicRender is by design and can change in future.

More Information

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Kernel Mode Display-Only Driver (KMDOD) Interface

What's new for Windows 8 display drivers (WDDM 1.2)