The Basics of RAM

Basics of RAM

Random Access Memory (RAM), commonly referred to as just ‘memory’, is a high-speed component that temporarily stores information the CPU needs to work its way throughThe data stored in RAM can be accessed within milliseconds, unlike hard-drives which work on sequential access.   

RAM helps prevent the CPU from having to dig through the hard-drive or SSD every time a command is given, meaning it can process instructions as quickly as possible. A command can be anything from opening an internet browser to playing a video. Think of RAM as the desk you work from. The bigger your desk, the more papers you can have out at one time. You can quickly and easily access these papers, without having to go in and out of filling draws and folders. RAM works the same way, from the moment you turn on your computer, check your emails and open a spreadsheet, RAM has temporarily saved several tasks. At the end of the day, you would tidy your desk and place the papers into their respective folders, the same way you would save any open documents onto your hard drive.  

RAM is the short-term memory of a device.

RAM is a volatile technology – once a device loses power or shuts down, it forgets everything, and the short-term memory is wiped clean. This means it’s ideal for handling the variety of high-speed tasks you require from your computer each day but can’t ‘save’ the files your working on for long-term acccss. 

This is also the reason why a device needs storage systems like hard-drivesHDDs and SSDs. These storage systems are there to hold data for the long-term and can be retrieved at any time. It just takes the computer slightly longer to access data stored here. 

If your system is slow or unresponsive, a memory upgrade may be what you need. Upgrading your RAM is often the easiest and most cost-efficient way to improve your device’s performance.  

Types of RAM 

The two main types of RAM are Dynamic RAM (DRAM) and Static RAM (SRAM).  

DRAM 

A type of semiconductor memory that is typically used for the data and program code. This is needed by a computer processor to function. The two types of DRAM are SIMM (single in-line memory module) and DIMM (dual in-line memory module). The outdated SIMM packaging was popular in the 80s – 90s. It came in 30 and 72 pin sets and had 32-bit data transfer rates.  

The now more commonly used, DIMM, have 168 or more pin connectors on both sides of the chip and support a 64-bit data transfer rate.  

DRAM has a higher storage capacity than SRAM and is often the cheaper option. 

SRAM 

A type of semiconductor memory that stores each bit by adopting bistable latching circuitry, otherwise known as flip-flop. While DRAM is periodically refreshed, SRAM incorporates a self-refresh circuit.  

SRAM is usually used for the CPU cache, and DRAM is used for the computer’s main memory.  

SRAM comes in a non-volatile state (NV-SRAM), processing standard SRAM functionality, but can save data when power is off. This ensures the preservation of critical information on devices where the battery is impractical.  

Another type of SRAM is PSRAM (pseudo-static random-access memory). It features a DRAM memory core and incorporates a self-refresh circuit. PSRAM has density and cost advantages without the access complexity of DRAM.  

If you’re unsure what RAM you require, get in touch with our team today. Our specialists will access and recommend the best parts and components you need to make your business go further. 

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