About RAM or Random Access Memory

About RAM or Random Access Memory

RAM or Random Access Memory (aka Memory) is one of the most confused parts of the computer. I hope to at least give you a general understanding about it now. Memory is used to temporarily store information the computer needs to access, it sits between the Hard Drive and the CPU in the computing process. It is many times faster than a Hard Drive or even SSD storage, but does not maintain storage when power is lost.

A quick explanation: When you load a document on your computer, it is copied from the hard drive to RAM and while open is kept in Memory for quick access. When you hit save the data is put back on the hard drive. (This is why you loose all your changes to a document when the computer crashes and you haven’t saved your changes. NOTE: Press CTRL-S every few minutes to save your changes, you’ll never regret it!)

If you did not have RAM, your computer would be substantially slower waiting for the Hard Drive. RAM only stores information while it has power, everything in Memory is lost when you reboot or power down your computer. It does not play any part in the long-term storage of your data, that is the Hard Drives (aka HDD or SSD) job.

More Memory does not always mean a faster computer.
It is important to size the RAM properly for your application. If your computer is for “everyday activities” like web browsing, basic office applications and you will have only a few things open at the same time 4 GB of RAM would be sufficient.

If you are a “power user or business user” or have many applications open at once 8-16GB of RAM would be good.

Finally if you are doing lots of graphics design, video work, virtualization or running the latest computer games, you probably need 16-32GB and in some rare occasions possibly more.  This also applies for Servers, again 16-32GB should be enough, unless your using virtualization or running a server for very large work loads.

Your computer will only use what it needs, so if you have a computer with 4GB of RAM and only run a web browser, adding an additional 4GB of RAM will make no performance difference at all.

Video and Computer Memory (RAM)

All computers have both video and General purpose RAM.  Some use separate memory and some use the general purpose Memory for video processing.  Video RAM is used specifically for display and video processing.  Most lower end computers will use shared memory, this can drastically reduce your computers performance by limiting the amount of general purpose RAM available.  Especially in computers with smaller amounts of total RAM.  General Purpose Memory is also slower then Video RAM.  This is one reason why add-on Graphics cards are expensive, but important for computers doing image, video or gaming tasks.

Need more help?  Unsure if your computer has the right amount of RAM?  Looking to upgrade?  Contact us, we would be happy to assist.

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