RAM is a critical part of the computer that stores data and instructions while the system is on. When the computer is turned off, all information stored in RAM disappears. In this article, we are going to get the answer to “What does RAM do for your computer?”
What does RAM do for your computer?
Every computer system needs a memory unit to store and retrieve information. These storage or memory units can be divided into two categories: Permanent Storage and Temporary Storage. The hard disk drive is an example of permanent storage where specific files are stored permanently. On the other hand, RAM or Random Access Memory is an example of temporary storage where the files stored are volatile.
Importance of RAM
As the name suggests, Random Access Memory is a temporary storage unit that enables applications to store frequently required files in a location so that they can be accessed for running it.
Accessing the hard drive takes a lot of time. So, the system uses RAM to store certain files which can be fetched by the CPU in a short time to run the application.
The files stored are volatile which means that they are available only when the application is running and when we turn off the computer, the files get deleted.
The capacity of the RAM determines the speed and performance of the computer. Higher the RAM, the faster the processes take place. But RAMs cost more than Hard drives and SSDs.
Types of RAMs and Which is Fastest ?
There are majorly two types of RAMs namely
- Static RAM
- Dynamic RAM
Static RAM or SRAM has four to six transistors and keeps the memory stored as long as power is supplied to them. This RAM is faster and more expensive.
Dynamic RAM or DRAM has many cells and each cell consists of a transistor and a capacitor. Since transistors leak charge, the capacitors eventually drain causing loss of data. So, it has to be recharged every few milliseconds to retain the data. But DRAM is found in many systems due to its lower price.
In DRAM there are 3 types namely,
- Synchronous DRAM
- Rambus DRAM
Among these three, DDR is the fastest and has developed up to 5 generations and the recent type is DDR5 which can support 51.2 GB/s.
Purpose of RAM
If you look at hard drives, it is made up of mechanical parts. When the computer asks for any file, these parts have to work and retrieve the file requested.
Even though this process is optimized to perform at higher speeds, it is comparatively slow. This is where RAM comes in. Initially, the computer reads the file from hard drives and store them in the RAM.
RAM doesn’t have any moving parts. The files stored in the RAM can be retrieved at lightning-fast speed compared to drives. Also, whenever the files are needed for running the application, the system goes to RAM for quick loading and operation.
Apart from this, every program file needed for the running of the application doesn’t have to be stored permanently.
If it can be stored in places like RAM for quick access, it will be enough. Even if the data gets volatile it will not affect the application data.
These are the uses of RAM in a computer system. Increasing the RAM gives faster and more responsive performance.
Read this related post:
- Guide to sharing RAM Memory to Graphics Memory
- How much RAM is needed for video editing?
- Is DDR5 RAM good for Gaming?
What should I look for when buying RAM?
First of all, you should know the specifications of your motherboard. Because of the type of slot, the frequency it can support matters for choosing an appropriate RAM.
Then, you should look for the Data transfer rate which is mentioned as Double Data Rate (DDR). There are several versions of DDR and you can choose the latest ones such as DDR5.
Along with the DDR, the speed of data transfer is also mentioned in terms of MHz. You can find specifications like DDR5 3200 MHz and so on. The higher the frequency, the faster will be the data transfer rate.
The next important factor is timing or it is also known as latency rate. A low latency rate denotes faster execution of commands.
After that, you should decide on the capacity of the RAM. Higher GBs of RAM gives you better performance and at the same time can be expensive cost wise.
If you have a motherboard that can support RAM upgrade, then you can initially buy a lower capacity and upgrade it whenever you need.
Voltage is also an important factor to consider because mismatched voltages can burn your motherboard and other components of the system.
For higher RAM usages your computer should have a 64-bit operating system. Therefore, look into that factor too.
Is Single Channel or dual channel RAM better?
A single channel RAM means there is only one module in the motherboard and only one RAM is fixed to it.
For example, a single module of 8GB RAM is called a single channel RAM. This might be a problem during high intense tasks since all processes take place only in one channel.
On the other hand, dual channel has two modules where the RAM can be split and used.
For example, if you want an 8GB capacity of RAM, you can attach two 4GB RAMs in two modules.
Dual channel RAMs are effective and faster in performance when compared to single channel RAMs. Since dual channel RAMs could split the processes and perform several tasks at a time.
RAMs are an integral part of the computer system and cannot function without them. Every process will take a lot of time if there is no RAM present in the system. RAMs help in quick responses and faster performance of the computer.