Your computers and smartphones are made up of many components, all of which are equally important for the devices’ functionality. One of these components is the RAM. RAM is not only present in phones and computers but also gaming consoles. Without RAM, your computer would either work too slowly or not work at all. So, what is RAM (Random Access Memory), you may ask.
RAM is the component in your computer that ensures the fast functioning of the system. Just like you have a memory system in your brain, RAM is the computer’s memory system.
What is RAM (Random Access Memory)?
RAM is the short-term memory of a computer or smartphone. It stores the information present on your computer in real-time. Basically, if you are editing a video, writing a document, or playing a game, the RAM stores all the information. So, whenever you need to open a new page or change the editing tool, the computer used the stored information to make that function happen. This allows the computer to execute its function quickly.
If the data is present in the RAM, the device will be able to read it at the same speed from anywhere. However, since RAM is a temporary memory, it is volatile. This means that whenever you switch off the computer, you lose all the information. Opposed to that, hard drives and SSDs retain information even after you have turned off your computer.
What is the Purpose of RAM?
As mentioned earlier, RAM is extremely important for storage and serves a great purpose. RAM allows the computers to have fast performance and for your smartphones to open a file in a fraction of a second. In simple words, the purpose of RAM is to let your computer have quick access for reading and writing to a storage device.
Here’s an example. If you are working in your office, you would fetch the files that you need for the time being and keep them on your desk. This will make it easier for you to open and access those files again and again. If you did not have a desk, you would have to go to the cabinet or storage space of your files and fetch the files again and again. This would slow you down. In this example, the desk is your RAM.
Your computer uses three steps to perform any function:
RAM plays a role in accelerating the ‘fetch’ step so that the functioning can be executed faster. Without a RAM, your device will be extremely slow as it will have to fetch data from the source every time you need it.
How Does RAM Work?
The working of a RAM is slightly complicated. RAM has millions of capacitors and transistors on it, forming an integrated circuit. DRAM is the most common type of RAM. In DRAM, a capacitor and a transistor form one memory cell. One bit of data is represented by one memory cells. The computer stores information as bits i.e. 0 and 1.
- The transistor is the switch.
- Capacitor contains the information.
The capacitor stores electrons in it. For a bit of information denoted by 0, the capacitor is empty and for 1, the capacitor is filled with electrons. A limitation of the capacitor is that there is a leak in it that lets the electrons go out. To compensate for this, the memory controller recharges the electrons onto the capacitor thousands of times in a second. This ensures that the information denoted by ‘1’ stays on the capacitor. If this was not happening all the time, the 1 would be converted to 0 in no time.
The information on the memory cells has to be read too. This is supported by the circuits. The circuit identifies the rows and columns of information and counters the information i.e. keeping track of the continuous refreshing.
On the other hand, static RAM stores information in a flip-flop fashion. There is no continuous refreshing in this kind of RAM. However, static RAM takes up more space as four to six transistors are present on it.
Where is the RAM in a Computer?
The RAM is present on the motherboard in your computer. Most of the time, the RAM is present in the upper right corner. There are long grooves or slots in which the RAM is present. These grooves are just a few millimeters wide.
You should know the position of the RAM on a computer if you want to repair your computer or upgrade the RAM without having to pay anyone to do it.
What Does RAM do for Gaming?
The answer to this question is the same as that of what does RAM does for a computer. In concise words, RAM makes your computer and games faster. If you are a hardcore gamer, you would want the games to work seamlessly rather than getting sluggish while you are on a gaming marathon. Most mainstream games are demanding and take up a lot of space.
Having a bigger RAM improves the gaming experience as it improves loading times. A faster RAM allows the computer to read and write the information faster. If you want to upgrade the RAM on your computer, you should opt for a RAM bigger than 8GB. However, you should check on the manufacturer’s website or the user manual if your computer supports the RAM you want to install.
Types of RAM
All RAMs have the same purpose but they work differently. The two main types of RAMs are:
- Dynamic RAM
- Static RAM
They are further divided into Synchronous Dynamic RAM, Single Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic RAM, Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic RAM, and Graphics Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic RAM.
Dynamic RAM has a memory controller that controls the timings of signals asynchronously. It needs to be refreshed thousands of times in a second or the data is lost. It is volatile and has more memory capacity. This RAM is present in computers and video game consoles.
Synchronous DRAM has memory chips that are ready to operative whenever the CPU needs. They work synchronously with the CPU clock.
Single Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic RAM is the expanded name for synchronous DRAM.
Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic RAM is similar to SDRAM in operation but is much faster and has physical differences.
Static RAM requires a constant flow of power for functioning. Unlike DRAM, it does not have to be refreshed continuously to keep track of the stored data. It is present in digital cameras, printers, and LCD screens. However, static RAMs tend to be expensive but have faster access speeds.
Graphics Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic RAM works with a GPU and is present in a video graphics card.
Thanks to RAM, your computers work at such fast speeds and make working a breeze for you. Hopefully, this article would have enriched your knowledge about RAM, its functioning, and importance for computers and other devices. Keep in mind that you should not move or try to change the RAM without expertise as this can damage its components.