What Are VBOs in Minecraft and Should You Enable Them? (Quick Guide)

Lindsay Hayes

Vertex Buffer Object (or VBOs) is an OpenGL feature that lets you store vertex data in your GPU's memory. This saves a lot of time and resources during rendering.

You can find this option in the Minecraft video settings. Enabling VBOs usually gives me a slight boost in the game performance. However, that's not always the case.

If you want to learn how this setting affects gameplay or the game's load time, make sure to read till the end.


VBOs in Minecraft Explained

If you've spent enough time playing this game, you might have come across something called "Use VBOs" in the Minecraft Video Settings.

For starters, VBO stands for "Vertex Buffer Object." It's an OpenGL feature that lets you use your GPU's resources to upload vertex data for non-immediate-mode rendering.

To explain this in layman's terms, let's take the following example. Let's say you want to render a square in immediate mode rendering, where the data has to be sent from the system memory in real time. To do that, you'll have to specify each of the four vertices, then draw lines for each adjacent pair.

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A pseudo code for the same might look like this:

  1. start drawing
  2. draw line from (0,0) to (1,0)
  3. draw line from (1,0) to (1,1)
  4. draw line from (1,1) to (0,1)
  5. draw line from (0,1) to (0,0)
  6. end drawing

Too many steps and wasted frames each time you need to draw a square. Imagine when there are millions of such squares, with even more attributes like color, normal vector, etc.

That's where VBOs come into play.

Using VBOs, you load all the vertices data to the GPU memory in the beginning.

  1. create <VBOname>
  2. load (0,0) into <VBOname>
  3. load (1,0) into <VBOname>
  4. load (1,1) into <VBOname>
  5. load (0,1) into <VBOname>

Now, each time you want to draw a square with these vertices, you can issue a single command:

draw vertices in <VBOname>

Of course, you'll need to specify the drawing state in OpenGL so that it uses the correct pairs of vertices for lines. The point is that for each VBO, you only need one draw call and all the data is already stored in the video device memory.

Don't worry. Minecraft already takes care of all the GL backend, so you don't have to be a developer to use this setting.

This is why many Minecraft players prefer using VBOs over immediate mode rendering.

Does the VBOs Setting Improve Video Game Performance?

VBOs can provide performance gains in a video game by reducing the load on your CPU and RAM and assigning those tasks to the GPU, although it won't affect the game's load time.

Note that the actual results depend on your GPU and the game itself. Also, not every graphics card supports these settings.

In games like Minecraft that have very simple models, enabling VBOs can give a 5-10% increase in performance. However, for games with higher resolution models, it can provide an even greater performance boost.

A simple way to know is by using fps-tracking or CPU monitoring software in the background and comparing both settings.

Should You Turn on VBOs in Minecraft Game?

I recommend that you enable the VBO settings in Minecraft and see if there's any difference in performance or fps. You can choose to leave it on unless it negatively affects the gameplay.

Sometimes, VBOs can crash or slow down your game. If that happens, you need a better GPU or newer drivers.

With most modern GPUs, you will see a slight increase in fps since the game isn't rendering unnecessary objects all the time.

On the other hand, if you already have a pretty powerful rig, you might not notice any difference in fps.

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I hope you've learned all about the VBOs setting and will use it the next time you play Minecraft. This is one of those in-game settings that you should definitely try out.

Make sure to check out our other articles for more handy tips and tricks!

Lindsay Hayes

Hi, I’m Lindsay, a techie from Kansas City. That’s right; I’m a born and bred Midwesterner. I learned to take electronics apart at my dad’s GameStop way back when, and I haven’t stopped since. I spend most of my time checking out new gadgets.
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