What is Ram? What is Memory?

What is Ram? What is Memory? Below is a picture of RAM inside of your computer!

RAM Pictures, computer memory

A standard "module" or "stick" of desktop memory is long, thin and resembles a short ruler. The bottom of the memory module has one or more notches to guide for proper installation and is lined with numerous, usually gold-plated connectors. Here is a closer look at RAM.

RAM or Memory

Random Access Memory (RAM) provides space for your computer to read and write data to be accessed by the CPU (central processing unit). When people refer to a computer's memory, they usually mean its RAM.


This type of memory usually allows your computer to work considerably faster, as RAM is many times faster than a hard disk. If you are familiar with cars it gives it more HORSEPOWER!

RAM is volatile, so data stored in RAM stays there only as long as your computer is running. As soon as you turn the computer off, the data stored in RAM disappears. Storage devices, such as hard drives, maintain data (Like your letters and pictures) even when they're turned off (as long as you saved the file); memory (RAM), on the other hand, holds onto its contents only when the the computer is on and functioning. Turn off your computer, and the data in memory vanishes. Temporary memory is referred to as RAM, or random-access memory.

SDR, DDR, DDR2, and DDR3 RAM these are types of RAM that you may have seen, and NOT known what the heck it was! If you look at the sales flyers for stores that sell computer items they will tell you what current is on sale!

Prior to 2002, most computers used single data rate (SDR) RAM. Most computers made since use either double data rate (DDR), DDR2, or DDR3 RAM. DDR2 is able to achieve faster transfer rates to prevent limitation of your CPU's performance, and DDR3 technology takes these advancements even further.

Note that these RAM technologies are not interchangeable. One type of RAM will not function if installed with another type, and physical differences in the RAM modules prevent them from even being inserted in the same computer. In other words you can't place DDR2 into a computer that has slots for SDR memory (older computers). See the picture below to see what slots look like inside a computer.


RAM is Also Known As:
main memory, internal memory, primary storage, memory "stick", RAM "stick"

If you are interested in how excately it works How Stuff Works has a more technical article on it. I wanted you to have a basic idea so you know what people are talking about when you hear it.

Every time you start your operating system, launch a program, or open a file, the relevant program code and/or data is loaded into RAM. That's why you see RAM listed in the system requirements for the software you buy.

If you have more RAM, you can open more files or programs at once and load bigger files or programs onto your system.

RAM capacity is rated in terms of megabytes (MB), and a typical computer will ship with 64MB to 128MB installed. However, you can increase that total to 256MB, 512MB, or even a whopping 1GB, if your system supports it.

You might have heard the term, "Swap out the memory". I have done this with computers in the past. For Example, if you find that your slots have a capacity of a WHOPPING 1GB of memory. You look inside your computer, and find you have a 1 slot filled with 128MB memory installed into it. Keep in mind this isn't a realistic example okay? I wanted to use extreme measurements to make a point! You find that your computer has a total of 3 slots! If I were a huge gamer or do alot of graphic work I may need all the RAM I can get! I will buy 3 of those whopping 1GB RAM cards, and take out the 128MB that I have installed...and DUMP IT in trash can! I would place the new RAM into my computer. I have now swapped out my memory!

Ram is a type of memory! When you hear about it most of the time that is what they are talking about! Now you can answer questions when you are asked, "What is Ram? WHat is Memory?"

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Make sure to check out, "How much RAM does my computer need?" and How do I know if I have enough RAM installed?

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