What does RAM do on a computer?

What does RAM do on a computer?

Many of us might have heard the word RAM in our daily life but do not know what it does except the fact that RAM stands for Random Access Memory. Generally, people from the non-technical background are not aware of usage and importance. It like the magic wand that is responsible for getting things faster for us on a computer.

Topics Covered

What is RAM?

Why is RAM important in every computer or laptop?

Features of RAM

Types of RAM

How does RAM Works?

What is RAM?

RAM is an internal part of every computer because it stores the computer’s current data that you are working on. Unlike the computer’s hard drive, RAM also holds data; however, it pursues lower data capabilities than the hard drive. RAM and hard drives are also referred to as short-term memory and long-term memory. The first RAM drive software came about back in 1980. RAM enables your computer to execute many of its day-to-day tasks, unlike playing games, running software, surf on the internet, use MS tools, or load different applications. RAM also enables the user to switch instantly among its various programs, memorizing the location of your former program when you want to switch to another program.

Why is RAM important in every computer or laptop?

RAM stores the data temporarily for easy access. The computer’s data can be accessed faster from RAM, and then it can work for a hard drive. So specific files are temporarily saved on the RAM, so in effect, we can compare the hard drive and RAM to the human brain. Unlike the human brain, it tends to store the data (long-term) permanently and subconsciously (short-dream, especially when we dream). Similarly, our computer, the hard drive is referred to as a long term memory, and the RAM is considered as short term memory. Our computer saves the RAM for quick access when we start a program on our computer, and the computer will copy some necessary files from the hard drive to the RAM for the proper running of the program. 

RAM is a boon for computing technology as the conventional hard drives took more time to compute information and display the result where RAM can be accessed quicker than the hard drive. RAM ensures that if you are playing on high tech games, it does not halt much and run smoothly. If we left the data stored on the hard drive, it would take too long to load up the game (such as the character and the surroundings). As soon as you quit the game or finish the level, the game temporarily deletes the RAM’s data. It is faster than a hard drive, as data can be accessed in random order. Hence it is named as Random Access Memory.

On the other hand, the data accessed on the computer sequential, which eventually makes it slower. In more complex terminology, we can conclude that the RAM has a faster read and writes speed. For example, if you try opening up a word document and it takes a comparatively long time, we can say the hard drive you stored your document on has slow read speed as it is slow to read the word document’s data. Whereas if you are saving a document to your hard drive and this is going comparatively fast, you can say the hard drive you are saving the file has a fast writing speed. When we are Copying any file from one drive to another, it will use both read and write process as the file has to be read firstly from its original place and then written to its final location. The copied data is saved to your clipboard or RAM, and finally, the computer takes the data from RAM writes it to your selected drive.  

Features of RAM

  1. RAM is Volatile
What does RAM do on a computer?

A volatile memory source is something that cannot store data without power being sent directly to it. Unlike a hard drive, the RAM will instantly drain everything stored on it as soon as the power to it is cut off. So whenever there is a power cut, or you accidentally shut down your computer, everything which has been stored in the RAM gets permanently erased.

  • Buying RAM, which speed the computer or not?
What does RAM do on a computer?

One of the reasons if you want to buy more RAM is when you are working on multiple programs simultaneously and switching between different programs at once, unlike Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, high tech gaming software. The more programs you open, the more data has to be temporarily saved on the RAM. Thus, it would occupy more Ram. 

Therefore, if you’re into multitasking, then you may consider getting more RAM. In most cases buying more RAM does adds to the speed of your computer. Time and again, your computer memory gets full, and when this happens, the computer is not capable of beholding all the data required by the CPU to computer results. Eventually, to compensate for the low memory, the operating system keeps some of the data on the slower hard drive. So instead of the easy data flow from RAM to the CPU, it has to work extra by going back and forth to the hard drive, and thus, eventually, it degrades the computer’s speed. The hard drive has a low read/ writes speed, so the computer’s performance will fall. However, the average user does not run out of the RAM, so buying more is pointless. To combat this issue, all you need to do is increase RAM’s capacity on the computer. It will instantly increase your computer’s speed as more data can be loaded into the ram faster. Thus, we can conclude that a computer with more ram performs faster than a computer with less ram.

  • RAM computer fast
What does RAM do on a computer?

Solid-State drives or SSDs are fantastic. It brought us super quick storage performance with lower power consumption and without the fragile moving parts of mechanical hard drives, but what if you want to go even faster? Well, the absolute fastest storage solution you can have in a desktop is a RAM drive. We use the brand as the working memory for whatever the computer is doing at a given time instead of using a hard drive or even a regular SSD because RAM is speedy. This allows the computer to read and write the data it needs to act upon without waiting around. 

  • RAM can access data quickly.
What does RAM do on a computer?

RAM enables data items to be accessed in almost the same amount of time. RAM’s data access time is independent, and thus, the physical location of data inside the memory is not needed.

Types of RAM

The following are some common types of RAM:

  1. SRAM: SRAM stands for Static random access memory. It uses only transistors (does not have a capacitor), but it requires four or sometimes six to represent one digit of binary and, therefore, one bit of data. It is used primarily for the cache. Because static RAM required more transistors to represent a single bit of information, it requires more physical space. The advantage of this method is that, unlike capacitors, static memory is continuously in the state that it’s in whether it’s representing a 1 or 0. It remains that way and can be read that way until it’s told to change, and this means that it can be accessed much faster than Dynamic RAM.
  2. DRAM: DRAM stands for Dynamic random access memory. It stores binary data by using a paired transistor and capacitor. If the capacitor is holding a charge, it’s a one, and if not, it’s 0. They require constant refreshing to work efficiently.
  3. SDRAM: SDRAM stands for Synchronous dynamic random access memory. In the case of SDRAM, the RAM is synchronized with the CPU clock. The advantage of SDRAM is that the CPU or the memory controller exactly knows the timing or the number of cycles, after which the data will be available on the bus. Thus, improving the read and write performance as the CPU does not need to wait for the memory access.
  4. DDR SDRAM: The next generation of Synchronous DRAM is known as DDR RAM or Double data rate synchronous dynamic RAM. In the case of DDR RAM, the data is transferred twice during the clock cycle. Thus, enhancing the bandwidth, speed and allowing maximum transfer rate to 1,064 MBps (approximately for DDR SDRAM 133 MHZ). There are different generations in DDR RAM, i.e., DDR1, DDR2, DDR3, and DDR4. Nowadays, the memory that we use inside the desktop, laptop, or mobile is either DDR3 or DR4.
  5. RDRAM: RDRAM is a radical departure from the former DRAM generation, and it stands for Rambus dynamic random access memory. It uses a Rambus in-line memory module known as RIMM (pin configuration and size is identical to standard DIMM) to operate a special high-speed data bus called the Rambus channel. Rambus technology can send signals below the reference voltage to work faster, but it also consumes less power. Thus, eventually increasing the performance of the processor.
  6. CMOS RAM: CMOS stands for complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor RAM. A CMOS is a small non-volatile memory that resides on your motherboard, which remembers all your BIOS settings, confirmation details, hard disk settings, and system dates. Thus, it is also known as CMOS battery, CMOS memory or a non-volatile BIOS memory (because it’s non-volatile even if you turn off your PC). CMOS RAM requires significantly less power to maintain the memory contents.
  7. VRAM: VRAM is a short-term memory for your graphic card, and it stands for Video Random Access Memory. It is also known as MPDRAM (Multiport Dynamic Random Access Memory). VRAM is often referred to as the frame buffer between the processor of the computer and the display. It acts as a place where the partially and fully rendered frames sit and are specifically used for video adapters or 3-D accelerators. VRAM resides on the graphics card, where the amount of VRAM depends on your use case. If you are working on basic projects (1080p), you may not need as much VRAM. Still, if you are running on higher resolution displays and especially when games get more and more detailed, it requires more and more VRAM to render everything on screen at the correct resolution. Thus, VRAM is a decisive aspect in determining display resolution and color depth.

How does RAM Works?

What does RAM do on a computer?

RAM is installed on your computer’s motherboard within different modules that are called dams (Dual Inline Memory Module). The dam is fixed in the memory slots (present on motherboard). As human beings, we have got two types of memories conscious memory and long-term memory. The hard drive is your long-term memory, where all of your memories are stored permanently. In contrast, RAM is your subconscious memory, which essentially works in the background to get your long-term memory into your conscious memory. The RAM takes memories from your long-term memory or your hard drive, and it is randomly accessing those for your CPU to take it from the subconscious memory or the RAM. If something is not needed from your hard-drive or RAM, it merely erases data on the RAM.

RAM is a computer storage device that allows the data to be stored and accessed swiftly from random locations within the D-RAM on a memory module. The information is retrieved randomly or sequentially like a CD or a hard drive. The computer can access the data much faster if it was only reading from the hard drive.  But it involves other parts as well unlike you get the processor, and if it needs information, it’s reaching into the memory. Well, if your memory is small, you have to store the information on the hard drive, so now you’re making that trip to the hard drive every time, which can take quite a bit of time, compared to memory. So how do you fix the issue RAM was introduced.

One of the most popular RAM types used in Computers is DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory). It uses a transistor and a capacitor for storing the data as charges and are combined together to make a memory cell. The capacitor’s job stores the electrons and ensures the proper binding of the bit of information in the form of 0 (represents if the capacitor is empty) or 1(if the capacitor is filled with electrons). In contrast, the transistor works as a switch that allows the control circuitry of the memory chip to read or change the capacitor’s state.

The loophole with the capacitor is that it is relatively unstable due to the charge leakage property. Due to the charge leakage, the capacitor becomes loses all data and becomes empty. Therefore, to combat this issue, the CPU or the memory controller refreshes all of the capacitors possessing bit 1 before it loses all its charges. Hence, it needs this periodic refreshing operation to refresh the capacitor thousands of times per second automatically. It also loses charge each time the data is read.

The RAM capacity also depends on other factors given below:

Frequency

Frequency refers to how many bits of information are being transferred per second on one data line. High memory frequency means higher data bandwidth and hence a faster system, but most tests show that higher bandwidth memory actually will decrease your gaming performance. So go for a middle way frequency level.

Timings

RAM uses a variation of timings to check how fast it operates. These timings typically go names like TCL, TR, CD, but the most common and frequently used memory timings are CAS latency or TCL. If a row has been selected, it tells us how many clock cycles will have to wait for the result.

Voltage

The voltage on RAM sticks is simply the amount of power that it requires to operate. You can overclock RAM in the BIOS and often send more power to the RAM to perform better. This is essentially how you overclock RAM. Again, this doesn’t mean go out and purchase super high voltage RAM because lower end RAM is more compatible with motherboards. If you want to buy RAM, do some research and look at how to overclock them because you’ll be gaining way more benefit out of that. 

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