Function of RAM in a Computer

Are you interested in learning about the function of RAM? Well, that’s quite simple. 

In premise, the purpose of RAM is to provide write and read access to your storage device, thus it is critical to the function of your entire computer. 

However, that’s not all. In this article, we will cover what RAM is, as well as many other aspects of this computing component.

If that sounds of interest to you, check out the rest of this article.

What Is RAM? What Is the Function of RAM?

RAM, which stands for random access memory, is a vital part of your computing process on any device which requires active and quick access to applications and background-procedures.

Without RAM, a device would be reliant upon access directly from the drive, which would be significantly slower and wouldn’t allow for near-instant interactions.

As mentioned earlier, the entire reason for RAM’s existence is to provide write and read access to your storage devices. The computer makes use of RAM to bring up data, as it’s simply quicker to do so instead of loading it directly from your Hard Disk Drive or Solid State Drive.

RAM is like a work desk. Your work desk is used to access documents, tools, and items at the moment’s notice. Without the desk, everything has to be stored in filing cabinets, drawers, etc. Thus, it would take longer to find exactly what you need. 

In a similar fashion, all the data that is under active-usage on your computer, phone, or tablet is stored temporarily on the RAM. This memory provides quicker access to the files. Most drives, especially HDDs are significantly slower than RAM because of the physical limitations of rotational speed.

RAM Types

The most common types of RAM are Static RAM and Dynamic RAM. 

SRAM stores memory on six-transistor memory cells, whereas DRAM stores memory on pairs of capacitors and transistors. SRAM is more expensive but faster because it does not require as much power as DRAM.

SRAM is the most commonly used cache memory in the CPU.

DRAM is most used in the system memory of your device. Both of the RAM types are highly-volatile, meaning data can be entirely lost when the power is depleted.

How Much RAM Does One Need?

Just like with your HDD and your CPU, the quantity of memory that you need will depend on your personal use case requirements, as well as other specifications pertinent to your device. 

For instance, if you need a computer for high-quality gaming, then you need enough RAM to support such requirements. 2 GB of RAM is simply not enough for a game that has a minimum requirement of 4 GB. Even though you might be able to launch and play the game, the experience will be less than enjoyable. 

On the other side of the spectrum, when using your computer for simple internet browsing, you can easily get away with that amount. However, even nowadays, browsers can be quite demanding upon memory.

You can probably find out exactly how much RAM you need by learning about the specific requirements of a program or game, which would be listed in the System Requirements section of the website.

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RAM Is Paramount

In any case, it’s practically impossible to find modern devices that have less than 4 GB nowadays. Even phones come with 8 to 12 GB of RAM. Unless you have a specific purpose for your device, besides internet browsing, video streaming, regular application use, you probably will not need a device that goes beyond 8 GB.

Also, the speed of your device is not entirely limited by the quantity of RAM, but the other components such as the storage drive, processor, and much more. This means that a device with high-end parts but with little RAM will perform worse than one with greater quantities of RAM. The same is true in reverse. More RAM is always good, but will not produce much change for a device in which the CPU is morbidly slow.

So the answer to the question of “How much RAM I need” remains for you to be discovered.

RAM Works In Unison With Your Storage Drive, but It’s Not the Same Thing

RAM is most often referred to as memory, however, it’s often not the only type of memory that exits within your device. RAM has nothing to do with the quantity of file storage that your device has to offer, even though they are often used interchangeably in conversation (a common mistake).

For instance, 2 GB of memory/RAM will never be equal to 2 GB of hard drive storage. Unlike the hard drive, which can be turned on and off without losing access to data, the content that is being actively-used on your RAM is entirely erased when the power is depleted. 

That’s why none of your files and applications are open when you turn your computer after a shutdown. One way to get around this is hibernation mode, which copies the content of RAM unto the hard drive when it turns off, and then copies it all back on the RAM when it’s turned on again.

Each and every device, as well as the motherboard, can support a certain range of memory types in a variety of combinations. Such as dual-stick, quad-stick, high-latency, low-latency, and much more.

Ram Explained

Now that you what RAM is, as well as have discovered the function of RAM, you are well on your way to improve your overall computer user experience.

As long as you understand how much RAM you need, how to maintain it as well as optimize it, you will ensure a great future for your device.

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