Short for Voltage Regulator Module, a VRM is a buck converter that lowers down the voltage received from the Power Supply Unit (PSU) to a manageable size and then, sends it towards the motherboard so that each part of the computer gets the required power.
The VRM is present on the motherboard of your computer in the form of a combination of two adjacent sets of tiny boxes along with the capacitors and the inductors (chokes).
It may also have a heat sink with it that caters to the heat dissipation during the stepping down of the voltage and is particularly useful in the overclocking of the GPUs and CPUs.
Our guide below will get you up to speed with all there is to know about VRM, including how it works and its phases.
What is a VRM on a Motherboard? Everything that you need to know!
The main function of a VRM is to stabilize the power received from the PSU so that the computer’s components receive balanced power and work optimally.
It consists of the following three components attached with an integrated circuit (also called PWM controller): MOSFETs, inductors, and capacitors.
Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor (MOSFET) consists of three parts, namely, a gate, a drain, and a source.
The source is connected to the power supply, the drain takes this power to the components in the CPU while the gate is the barrier between the source and the drain.
Once a specific voltage is given to the gate, it opens up and power travels to the drain. The level of power needed is controlled by the CPU.
Referred commonly as choke, the inductor either store energy or filter it, depending upon the requirement.
The inductor plays a crucial role during overclocking as it improves the VRM’s ability to step down the voltage and enhances its overall efficiency of handling power.
A capacitor is an electrical component that stores energy in an electric field and discharges this energy into the circuit it’s connected to.
Poorly-made capacitors can be damaging for your entire system as they contain a liquid that can leak out at any time.
Using these three components, A VRM converts the 12-volt power supply of your computer to a suitable voltage for the fragile electronics within the computer, preferably around 1.1-1.3 volts.
The fact that the exact amount of voltage needs to be delivered to the various computer parts explains why a VRM is more than merely a piece of wire.
How does a GPU use VRM?
Graphic Processing Units (GPUs) also use VRMs. A VRM regulates the power received from the PSU, under the maximum voltage of the GPU before delivering it to the GPU itself.
Since the demand for these GPUs revolves around the use of high-end video games and software, they inevitably need a robust power supply. So, the VRMs integrated into these GPUs tend to get very hot and this is where the heat sink comes into play.
With the heat sink, all the heat produced within the VRM can be let out so that the VRM can again begin to function properly.
An important thing to take care of here is that if you own an expensive graphic card, make sure that you have a motherboard containing VRM of considerable size for it. Otherwise, the VRM won’t be able to hold the high current that is being sent towards the GPU and ultimately break.
What is VRM Temperature?
The temperature of VRM determines its state. It works best strictly under the mark of 100o C.
However, as mentioned above, due to the use of heavy software and video games, the VRM’s temperature can spike up, causing it to become hot. To resume its normal functioning, you need to cool it down.
A heat sink can normally get the job done but in extreme cases (that are incredibly rare), you may have to manually blow some air over the VRM!
Phases of VRM
There are two types of VRMS: single-phase VRM and multi-phase VRM. The more the phases, the smoother and cleaner is the power supplied to the motherboard.
In most of the modern computers/PCs, multi-phase VRMs are functional. By distributing the power load to a relatively larger area, multi-phase VRMs not only reduce heat dissipation and pressure on separate components but also make the computer more efficient.
Furthermore, in multi-phase VRMs the power is delivered to the computer in turns; each phase transfers only a part of the power that is needed.
Taken together, the total power supplied remains the same and unlike in single-phase VRMs, the power supplied is extremely reliable.
Determining the VRM Phases of your Motherboard
VRMs usually come in the form of numbers like “8+3” or “6+2.” The number on the left-hand side of the + sign is the amount of VRM phases for the CPU while the number on the right-hand side is the amount of VRM phases for the RAM.
High-quality motherboards have a higher number of VRM phases for both CPU and RAM.
If you are unaware of the VRM phases of your motherboard, you can simply figure them out by counting the number of inductors.
All in all, a VRM is a type of secondary power supply that takes care of the proper functioning of a computer system by ensuring that none of its components exceed their maximum voltage capabilities.
Without a VRM, your computer could quickly turn into a pile of rubble!