RAM Memory

Random Access Memory is probably the most heard of computer component. It is definitely one of the most important types of memory in a computer. (Yes, a computer has many different types of memory to suit the needs of different types of data) For the most part, the other memory you’ve heard of is Read Only Memory. However, to make it possible for you to make use of the computer’s memory, you require RAM.

Random Access Memory is the memory or data that the CPU can access randomly, if it knows the ‘address’ of the data required. This is opposed to Serial Access Memory, where you have to go through all the addresses in order to find what you need. An example of SAM is the cassette tape and that of RAM is a CD. When you begin working on the computer, everything that you’re working on is actually stored on the hard disk, while the computer is switched off. When you switch it on, the CPU begins to retrieve whatever data may be required from the hard disk and uploads it to the RAM, beginning with your operating system. This process is what is known as booting. Although both the hard disk and the RAM are memory devices, the RAM makes it faster for the CPU to access memory that you require during a session. Therefore your computer speed depends significantly on your RAM capacity. As such, it is possible to keep upgrading the RAM capacity from time to time.

The RAM is the simplest component to install. It sits in a long slot on the motherboard. Most motherboards have at least two slots for two memory chips. With faster response becoming crucial in PCs and more sophisticated software being churned out every day, having large RAM capacities is becoming more and more important. Equally important is the way this memory chip stores, reads and writes information. Therefore you will find many different types of RAM when you set out to buy one.

There are two main types of RAM that your computer uses – Dynamic RAM and Static RAM. Although we won’t go into the details how each works, the essence is: DRAM is slow but non-expensive, while SRAM is fast but expensive. Your computer has both types, the DRAM for storage and the SRAM for cache memory, which needs to be retrieved faster. When you buy RAM you will have to check its capacity and the rate at which the SRAM component transfers data to the L2 cache. For the most part you will come across the following types of RAM:

SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory): This is the most popular form. It is much faster than its precursors (about 5%) and thus improves performance considerably. It transfers to the L2 cache at a maximum speed of 528 Mbps.

DDR SDRAM (Double Data Rate Synchronous DRAM): Like the name suggests, greater speed than the normal SDRAM, transfers to L2 cache at a maximum rate of 1064 Mbps.

RDRAM (Rambus DRAM): This one is quite different from the DRAM designs and is built to transfer data at speeds of 1600 Mbps. It achieves this speed by using a specialized data bus or channel for transfers called a Rambus channel.

CMOS RAM: Unlike the hard disk the RAM doesn’t hold memory once the power is turned off. However, the computer still needs to remember certain settings, even after it is turned off. Some devices use a specific type of memory called the CMOS RAM, which is powered by a battery to remember these settings.

VRAM (Video RAM): Used specifically for video adapters or 3D accelerated as required by graphic intensive software or games. VRAM plays an important role in resolution and color depth. The VRAM is located on the graphics card and is connected to the CPU and the graphics processor. Being quite expensive, most computers use a cheaper substitute called SGRAM.

This RAM Memory Review is Written/Updated on May 13th, 2009 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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