Saturday, 8 February 2020

What is RAM?

Random access memory, or RAM, is one of the most important components of not only desktop PCs, but laptops, tablets, smartphones, and gaming consoles. Without it, doing just about anything on any system would be much, much slower. Even not having enough for the application or game you’re trying to run can bring things to a crawl, or make it so they can’t even run at all.
But what is RAM? In a nutshell, it’s an extremely fast type of computer memory which temporarily stores all the information your PC needs right now and in the near future. It’s where your computer loads up all the things it thinks it will need to find out soon, so that when it does need something, it can read it super fast. It’s quite different from your system’s storage, like its hard drive, where information is stored long term.
If this is all semantics to you and you just need to know how to install some RAM, or want to find out how much RAM you need, we have guides for that, too.

Short-term memory

Perhaps the best analogy for what RAM is to think of it as like your system’s short-term memory. It’s quick at learning new things and can load in all of the information about your web browser, the image editing tool you’re using, or the game you’re playing so that you can access it quickly. You don’t want to have to dig through your slower storage, like a hard drive or even a solid state drive (SSD) every time you want to open a new tab or load a new enemy to shoot. As fast as they are compared to storage of years gone by, they’re still far slower than RAM.
Data that’s in the short-term memory, or RAM, can be read from anywhere at almost the same speed and because it has a hard-wired connection to your system, there’s no real latency in cabling or connection.
Like short-term memory, though, RAM is not designed to stay focused forever and is ready to move on to the next task at a moment’s notice. It’s what is described in computing as “volatile,” that is, once it loses power, it forgets everything it’s learned. That makes it perfect for handling the multitude of high-speed tasks that your system throws at it on a daily basis, but it’s also why we need storage systems like hard drives and SSDs, to actually hold our information when you turn your system off.

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