RAM: the Nitro within your computer

After my little story about ‘how geeks work’, back to some tech stuff.

Let’s talk about RAM. Random access memory, one of the most crucial parts within your computer.

RAM is volatile memory, meaning that when you shut down your computer, everything stored in this memory will be gone (don’t worry it’s normal ;-)).

How does it work…
First of all it is called RANDOM access memory because you can access every memory cell directly if you know the correct address of this particular location. An opposite type of memory also exists. Memory that can only be accessed in a specific order.

A memory chip is an integrated circuit that is made of millions of transistors. A memory circuit is linked to a transistor and a capacitator to form a memory cell. This memory cell represents one bit of data (computer programmers don’t byte, they nibble a bit.. right?).

The capacitator (still following here ? ;-)) holds the bit of information. This infomation is either 1 or 0 .. true or false if you will (light is on, light is off).
The transistor acts as a switch which allows the control circuitry to access the capacitators data and read it or change it.

A capacitator is like a bucket, which can store electrons. In order to store a 1 the bucket is filled with electrons from the magical electron well.
To store a 0 it’s emptied.
However it has a leak. In a matter of miliseconds it is emptied.

That’s why it is volatile. In order to keep it working and keep the 1s stored it needs to be kept under power.

Anyway, that’s the general idea about how it works. But more important is which memory to pick for your computer.

General rule (as explained before), harmonize. Each bar of RAM has a certain bandwidth. Like for example 1066 Mhz… You’ll notice that when you look at the specifics for a motherboard, also here a bandwidth will be mentioned. This is the bandwidth of the motherboard can actually handle (from the RAM memory). So it you plug in memory which can handle 1066 Mhz but your motherboard is only able to handle 800 Mhz, you will lose precious performance.

The specifics of your motherboard will also mention which type memory is compatible. DDR, DDR2, DDR3, etc… It’s very likely that DDR will also work in a DDR2 slot but remember.. Performance ;-)…

RAM is one of the components which is responsible for the performance or “speed” of your computer. Together with your CPU. So.. more is better!

Keep in mind that your motherboard is only able to handle a certain amount of RAM. There is no point in plugging in 8 GB of RAM when your mobo can only handle 4GB.

RAM can actually be expensive… But there is something like “value-ram”. This is some sort of budget RAM. Don’t expect super performance from this type of memory. But if you are only planning to use your computer for normal office applications it should be just fine.

It’s your choice…

<quote>I can only show you the door, you are the one that has to walk trough it</quote> ;-)


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