Random Acccess Memory or RAM is a layer of computer memory that acts between the long term storage of the hard drive and the CPU, it is used to store data that is being used currently by a the operating system or a program such as a web browser, word processor or video game.
RAM is an order of magnitude faster than hard drives at returning requested data both in terms of latency (how fast data can be returned) and bandwidth (how much data can be read per second). Using this faster storage medium in an intermediary position makes significant performance increases for the whole system.
Technipages Explains Random Access Memory (RAM)
The speed difference between RAM and storage media has historically been significant, with the advent of fast Solid State Drives (SSDs) the difference has been reduced so that RAM is only around 10 times as fast as a high-end modern SSD. RAM was designed to originally to both be fast and to take the same amount of time to access any data stored on the RAM, these were both a significant difference to long term storage media before SSDs became mainstream as optical media like CDs and magnetic media like hard drives both have limited speed and variable read times.
RAM is required for computers to be able to run, with some being needed for the operating system and more leftover for other programs, modern versions of windows require more the 4GB of RAM so the most common amount is 8GB. RAM usually comes in standardised sticks so it can be easily swapped out or augmented with varying capacities and speeds, it is important to match RAM up when trying to use different brands as the computer will run it all at the same speed by slowing the fastest to match the slowest. Laptops and servers tend to use slightly different types of RAM.
Common Uses of Random Access Memory (RAM)
- My new computer has 16 Gigabytes of RAM.
- Random Access Memory comes as ‘sticks’ for desktop PCs.
- Without RAM, modern computers would be non-functional.
Common Misuses of Random Access Memory (RAM)
- misuse 1