What is RAM: Types and Importance

What is RAM: Types and Importance

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Jaya
Jaya Sharma
Assistant Manager - Content
Updated on Feb 8, 2023 11:00 IST

RAM is a type of temporary memory that is super fast in nature since it is not used for storage. While performing computing task, this memory is used whereas for storing, long term storage is used by the system.

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In this article on ‘what is RAM’, we will discuss this short term memory in detail along with its importance for the computer. 

Table of Contents

What is RAM?

RAM (Random Access Memory) short-term memory of a computer in which the data being currently used by the processor is stored. It is a hardware available in the form of a single mount individually on the motherboard. This memory may also be available as multiple chips on a board connected to the motherboard. Unlike the Read Only Memory, you can both read and write on RAM. Also, you can retrieve the used memory in RAM after your task is complete and reuse it. 

It is the most fundamental element of computing where the data that needs to be quickly retrieved is stored. RAM is the internal memory that stores data, programs and its result. It is the read/write memory that stores data until the machine is working. However, Random Access Memory can only store a few things at a time and it cannot store data for permanent use.

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How much RAM storage is needed?

To improve the memory speed and reduce the processing time, you will require more Random Access Memory. When your system runs out of this memory, you may require to free up space or upgrade your RAM. If not done on time, the speed of your system will slow down. 

Based on the requirement of the application in use, the amount of storage required will vary. In general, 4 GB and 8 GB storage is enough for average users. For heavier applications, programming, and gaming, the RAM requirement may extend up to 32 GB.

While upgrading RAM in your computer, it is important to ensure that the voltage, capacity and speed of RAM are the same while mixing and matching different configurations. It is also important to note that there is a limitation to upgrading the RAM based on the capacity of the motherboard. 

How does RAM work?

Whenever you open an application, your computer will load that application on RAM. When the computer loads an already saved document, the operating system will open that file from HDD or SSD. It then copies this information on RAM. Once the data is placed in your Random Access Memory, the performance will be instantaneous since this is super fast computer memory. 

Once you have completed work using the Random Access Memory, your data will get copied to long-term storage. When you close an application, the computer frees up your storage so that it can be used for other tasks. In case you have forgotten to save the document on the hard drive, your work will not be saved since it was available on RAM, which is temporary in nature. 

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Importance of Random Access Memory

Random Access Memory (RAM) is not only important for temporarily storing the data but also it helps in the following manner:

  • Helps in determining the performance of the system. 
  • Provides applications with a place for storing and accessing the data on a short-term basis. 
  • Store the information and data in RAM for quick access on your computer.
  • Facilitates the speed and performance of the system.
  • Allows quick switch among tasks due to the availability of more memory. 
  • Eliminates the need for using long-term storage for processing requirements.
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Types of RAM

The following are different types of Random Access Memory that are either in use or were used in the past:

  1. SRAM: Static RAM or SRAM holds the data for as long as it is receiving an electric supply. It is made up of memory cells and does not require to be refreshed on a regular basis. Modern SRAM memory cells that are made up of CMOS transistors but not capacitors. SRAM requires more chips even for the amount of memory as being used by DRAM. Due to the requirement for more chips, the manufacturing chips is also very high, and, thus it, is used in the high-speed cache memory. 
  2. DRAM: Dynamic RAM is integrated circuit that is made up of millions of capacitors and transistors that are small in size. These are made up of memory cells as well. A single memory cell in DRAM has one transistor as well as one capacitor. Since this type of memory uses a capacitor, it must be refreshed from time to time in order to charge.  

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Disadvantages of Insufficient RAM Storage

When you lack Random Access Memory storage, the system will move the current in-use application to the hard drive. Whenever you switch back to that application, you will need to retrieve the information to work on it. This is known as swapping or paging. 

Since paging is time-consuming, processing also becomes slower, which slows down the performance of applications as well. It also disallows the operating system from loading properly. In case of insufficient storage, you can free up the Random Access Memory in the following manner:

  1. Clean up the space on a regular basis
  2. Use lesser applications at once
  3. Close background applications to free up space

Conclusion

Hope that this article on ‘what is RAM’ has explained to you about the types, importance, and working of this temporary memory. Based on your system’s capacity and requirements, you can choose a suitable memory. However, it is also important to analyze whether you have an actual requirement for switching to another RAM.

About the Author
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Jaya Sharma
Assistant Manager - Content

Jaya is a writer with an experience of over 5 years in content creation and marketing. Her writing style is versatile since she likes to write as per the requirement of the domain. She has worked on Technology, Fina... Read Full Bio