Hardware

Random Access Memory (RAM) – What is RAM – How it works – How much RAM do you need for your computer

Ram

Known by many names like main memoryprimary memorysystem memory and of course Random Access Memory (RAM). RAM is a hardware device located on motherboard that stores the data while a computer is running. RAM is a volatile memory, as soon as the computer is powered off RAM loses all the data it had.

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Why there is a need for RAM?

The speed of reading and writing data into RAM is more than the other data storage devices on a computer like hard disk drives, floppy disks. RAM can be quickly accessed by the processor. When a computer is turned on, the Operating system, Applications running, and the data related to whatever the program running is transferred from computer’s hard drive to the RAM. This allows the CPU to quickly access the data needed to run the computer and thus increase the performance of the computer.

How RAM works

Ram is a type of memory. When a computer is turned ON, the operating system and the other applications that are running are loaded into the RAM from the hard disk drive. Any application opened in a computer is copied from hard disk drive to the RAM. When a RAM is completely filled the operating system automatically swaps data in and out of the RAM based on its need. This process however makes computer a little bit of slow. That is why it is recommended to have higher RAM according to the applications you are using.

Does the increase in RAM really affect the speed of a computer?

When a RAM is completely filled the operating system automatically swaps data in and out of the RAM based on its need. This process however makes computer a little bit of slow.

So at that time increasing the amount of RAM will stop the swapping process of operating system and all the applications can have enough space on the RAM this will make your computer run smoother.

If you increase the RAM more than the memory needed by your computer that will not increase any speed of your computer. RAM can increase your computer’s speed up to the point of the maximum RAM needed by your computer above this there will be no increase in the speed of your computer.

How much RAM do you need?

This depends on your computer.

  • If you run heavy applications like advanced video editors, advanced software development kits, emulators, virtual device like Android Virtual Device, you will need very high amount of RAM. Recommendation is 8GB for your system to run smoothly.
  • If you play high quality 3D games then also you need high RAM.
  • If you just use your PC for the purpose of work like using MS office or just surfing the web you don’t need very high amount of RAM. My recommendation is 4GB.

Types of RAM

1. Static RAM (SRAM)

Static random access memory uses multiple transistors for each memory cell but doesn’t have a capacitor in each cell. It requires constant power supply to work. As soon as the power is cut off it loses all the data stored in it.

It is used primarily for  cache.

2. Dynamic RAM (DRAM)

Dynamic random access memory has memory cells with a paired transistor and capacitor to store data. It needs constant refreshing so that capacitor does not discharge completely.

It is used in system memory and video graphic memory.

3. Synchronous Dynamic RAM (SDRAM)

This Ram works in sync with the CPU clock. This means that this RAM waits for the clock signal to respond to the data inputs. CPU clock helps SDRAM to take more instructions in parallel and solve them simultaneously. This allowed this RAM to works faster than the DRAM

4. Single Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic RAM (SDR SDRAM)

This is same as SDRAM. The ‘single data rate’ indicates how the memory processes one read and one write instruction per clock cycle.

5. Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic RAM (DDR SDRAM)

DDR SDRAM operates like SDR SDRAM, only twice as fast. DDR SDRAM is capable of processing two read and two write instructions per clock cycle.

Its successor developments are DDR2, DDR3, DDR4. Each of them is having double the speed and lesser power consumption than their predecessors. That is DDR4 has double the speed and lower power consumption than DDR3 and DDR3 has double the speed and lower power consumption than DDR2, same with DDR2 and DDR SDRAM.

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