What is RAM & Why Is It So Important

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This is a question we get here at Carbon I.T time after time. Although computers are not new, people still don’t quite understand what RAM is. The only thing most people seem to understand is that they want more of it. Probably like a fine wine, you don’t know why it’s fine, how it’s made or why you want it, you just know you do.

In this, the first of our education blogs, we will aim to explain more about it. What it does and exactly why better computers have more.

What Does RAM Stand For?

RAM is an acronym and it stands for random access memory. This basically means it’s a form of storage (memory) inside your computer that it accesses at random times during each session.

What Does RAM Do?

As we’ve mentioned above, it is a form of storage. However, this storage differs from most. There is never anything stored there long-term, instead, it’s a place that your computer copies important files to that it needs to access during the session. It copies them from your hard drive as these take longer to read from. This is why your computer has a “startup” procedure. The system is loading all the important files and copying them to this random access memory.

The RAM is so much faster and smaller than your hard drive. This means when the computer or laptop needs to load something, it accesses it from these memory modules. It’s called random because the files needed, depending on your use. It allows for random search based on your need inside the computer.

Once your operating system has loaded, you’ll then proceed to open apps (these used to be called programmes but most people know what an app is). These apps require more items to be loaded into the memory to allow them to run quicker. Some can’t load at all if you don’t have enough.

Why Do I Need More RAM?

More RAM basically means the ability to load more files into the storage. Giving your computer the ability to run a lot faster. Some apps require a minimum available amount of memory, this is because they need access to more to even open. Items such as Photoshop will require big chunks, most items on your screen in photoshop are stored into your RAM. That is at least until you save it correctly to your computer by pressing file and save.

There does come a point in a computer’s life where it wouldn’t benefit from more memory. That’s because the processor and other items inside your machine cannot adequately fill up the RAM. If you have plenty of memory and your experiencing a slow computer then you should look at a different processor. A new processor allows your computer to process more information into your memory for use later on.

On the flip side, there are plenty of cases where someone looks to buy a faster processor. We will look at this on another article. However, people believe faster processors mean faster computers. While that has some truth, if you don’t have the memory to process it then it doesn’t matter how fast it is. We’ve often created a 3x faster machine just by upgrading the RAM.

How Do I know Which RAM to Buy?

This is where things get very tricky and technical. There is no set standard for this piece of hardware. There is a basis, but there are many different versions of RAM and it all depends on your computer, motherboard and processor. The best thing to do is consult your computer manufacturer for this information. Or you can send us details of model numbers and we can recommend the best items for you.

So we hope we’ve covered all you need to know about Random Access Memory. I hope we haven’t bored you. Please come back again for more information on computer hardward.


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