Details of RAM (Random Access Memory)

RAM (Random Access Memory) is the hardware in a computing device where the operating system (OS), application programs and data in current use are kept so they can be quickly reached by the device’s processor. RAM is the main memory in a computer, and it is much faster to read from and write to than other kinds of storage, such as a hard disk drive (HDD), solid-state drive (SSD) or optical drive.

 

Random Access Memory is volatile. That means data is retained in RAM as long as the computer is on, but it is lost when the computer is turned off. When the computer is rebooted, the OS and other files are reloaded into RAM, usually from an HDD or SSD.

 

There are two main types of RAM: dynamic random access memory (DRAM), or Dynamic RAM, and static random access memory (SRAM). The RAM in most personal computers (PC’s) is Dynamic RAM. All dynamic RAM chips on DIMMs, SIMMs or RIMMs have to refresh every few milliseconds by rewriting the data to the module.

Static RAM (SRAM) is volatile memory and is often used in cache memory and registers because it is a lot faster and does not require refreshing like Dynamic RAM. SRAM retains information and is able to operate at higher speeds than DRAM. Because DRAM is a lot cheaper than SRAM, it’s common to see PC manufacturers use DRAM.

Dynamic RAM is memory that needs refreshing. The refreshing is done by the memory controller which is part of the chipset on the motherboard. Static RAM (SRAM) does not need refreshing and is used in memory cache on the central processing unit (CPU); it is called L1, L2 and L3 cache. Original SRAM was stored on the motherboard; later SRAM was inside of the CPU housing or stored on both the motherboard and inside of the CPU.

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