RAM - Random Access Memory - Online Article

RAM (Random Access Memory
 
Stands for "Random Access Memory," and is pronounced like the male sheep. RAM is made up of small memory chips that are connected to the motherboard of your computer.

Ram Device.

Ram Device Inserted in Motherboar Slot.

Understanding PC computer RAM/Random Access Memory

When you are buying a new PC computer, you may have noticed that one of the features/specifications include something called RAM. For someone who is not familiar with the internal workings of PC computers, PC computer RAM is a mystery. Actually, RAM is an acronym for ‘random access memory’ and is essential for the operation of your PC computer.

PC computer RAM, also known as volatile memory, is used by your PC computer in order to store information that will be processed by the CPU, or central processing unit. The random access memory in your PC computer stores information in memory cells arranged in a grid. This grid can be compared to a spreadsheet in which all the data is stored. Your PC computer’s processor accesses the data at random as needed to carry out the processes required by software being run on your system.

Occasionally, people confuse their hard drive with RAM. The hard drive is simply a storage system for the data on your PC computer – the software you run as well as the documents and files you store. The information on your hard drive cannot be accessed at random. When information from the hard drive needs to be accessed, entire blocks of data are transferred to the RAM. Once the information is in the PC computer’s RAM, it is randomly accessed used by the processor as needed.

Whenever you shut your PC computer down, all of the information that is in the random access memory is deleted. So the RAM of your PC computer is only like a temporary storage system that works in conjunction with your PC computer’s processor to perform functions requested by software on your PC computer. The more RAM a program requires for operation, the slower your PC computer operates when running that program.

However, you can ensure that your PC computer RAM is working at its full potential by taking care to perform a few maintenance tasks. One of these tasks is to regularly empty the recycle bin. You should also uninstall or delete any programs and files that you do not need.

It is also helpful to defragment your PC computer every so often. This is a simple procedure that can be run easily. Just go to the ‘Start’ menu, click ‘All Programs’, choose ‘Accessories’, then ‘System Tools’, and the ‘Disk Defragmenter’. And you are all set – allow the program to run until completion.

If you are on the Internet frequently, be sure to clear your browser’s history regularly and also the temporary Internet files. These tasks can normally be performed from within whatever browser you are using by selecting ‘Tools’ and then appropriate subsequent options.

If you run a lot of programs that are resource hogs (require a lot of RAM), then you should also consider adding more random access memory to your PC computer. You should notice that the programs run more quickly and smoothly once extra RAM has been added.

RAM is an essential component for making sure that your PC computer operates at its peak. Not having enough RAM will cause your PC computer to behave erratically. Understanding how your PC computer RAM affects the operation of your PC computer is helpful in making sure that your PC computer has all the resources it needs for proper functioning.

TYPES OF RAM

Dynamic RAM (DRAM)
Most computers incorporate two types of volatile RAM: static and dynamic. Although both types require constant electrical current to function, they have some important differences. Dynamic RAM is less expensive, and therefore it is the most widely used. When a computer is said to have 512 megabytes or one gigabyte of RAM, the specification refers to dynamic RAM (DRAM). DRAM stores each bit of information in a separate capacitor on the integrated circuit. The DRAM chip requires only one transistor and one capacitor for each bit of storage. This makes it both cheap and space efficient.

One disadvantage with using capacitors for storage is that they gradually dissipate their charge, so the charge must be refreshed regularly (current specifications are for the refresh to occur every 64 milliseconds or less). This refresh requirement is what makes this technology dynamic. DRAM also suffers periodic access limitations, because it cannot be read during the refresh cycle.

One specialized type of DRAM is more common is embedded DRAM, or EDRAM. EDRAM is DRAM integrated onto the same chip as the processor and used as cache memory. This is a common solution in gaming consoles, and it will likely become a staple in embedded systems.

Static RAM (SRAM)
Static RAM (SRAM) has the advantage of being faster than DRAM, although the disadvantage is that it is more expensive. SRAM is static in the sense that it doesn't require constant electrical refreshes; however, it still requires constant current to maintain the voltage differentials. SRAM generally requires less power than DRAM, although its power requirements vary depending on clock speed. At higher clock speeds, it can use as much power as DRAM; however, at more moderate speeds, it requires only a fraction of what DRAM uses. When idle, SRAM power requirements are low.

Each bit in a SRAM chip requires a cell of six transistors, although DRAM needs only one transistor and one capacitor. This means that SRAM cannot achieve the storage densities of the DRAM family. As with DRAM, SRAM chips are mostly large arrays of these cells of transistors.

The two primary applications of SRAM are embedded use and in computers. Embedded use refers to SRAM use in automotive and consumer electronics, industrial equipment, and almost all appliances or toys with an electronic user interface. Devices, such as cell phones and music synthesizers, can incorporate several megabytes of SRAM.

SRAM in computer systems is usually delegated to roles where a small amount of high-speed memory is required, such as processor caches and I/O buffers. Printers and liquid crystal displays (LCDs) often use SRAM to buffer images. SRAM is also widely used in networking devices, such as routers, switches, and cable modems, to buffer transmitted information.

SRAM should not be confused with synchronous DRAM (SDRAM) or pseudostatic RAM (PSRAM).

Knowledge about RAM in PC's Hardware

The RAM memory used in current PCs comes in the form of DDR(double data rate) and DDR2 and DDR3 memory modules. A kit consisting of two 1GB modules of DDR2 memory, for use in a desktop PC, made by Crucial, is shown below.

Unless all of the memory slots on a computer's motherboard are already fitted with memory modules, the RAM memory in most desktop and laptops computers can be increased by installing more memory (upgrading the memory). Installing one or more additional memory modules in a desktop or a laptop computer is a simple process that is dealt with at the top of  of this article.

Some high-speed RAM memory modules come with passive heatsinks fitted to them. These heatsinks can also be purchased. Names for memory cooling devices are heatspreaders, heat spreaders, ramsinks, memory cooling kits, RAM heat sinks, etc.

The image below is of a Corsair memory module with a passive heatsink built on to it.

Most of the current  desktop PCs and laptop PCs have motherboards that use DDR or DDR2 memory. However, DDR3 memory is now available, so, as time goes on, more motherboards will be using it.

The modules are installed in the DIMM(dual inline memory module) memory slots on the PC's motherboard. Most motherboards provide four DIMM slots, but some micro-ATX motherboards only have two slots, both of which must be filled if the memory is used in the fastest dual-channel mode.

Dual_Line_Memory_Module in Motherboard

 

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