Basic Information About RAM (Random-Access Memory)

Last Updated: 2021-09-26
Summary: Serving as the “working” memory of the computer, RAM (Random-Access Memory) is the physical hardware inside the computer that stores the data temporarily. This article will introduce some necessary information about RAM.

What is RAM?

RAM (abbreviated from Random Access Memory) is a form of computer data storage that can be randomly accessed. Users use it to store working data and code and can read and change it in any order.

Users can read or write data items on the RAM devices at almost the same amount of time, regardless of the physical location of the data in memory. In contrast, the time that users read and write data items on other direct-access storage media varies from different recording medium’s physical locations.

SSD or hard disk is the long-term memory of the computer, while RAM is the short-term memory in the computer. Besides, RAW is a volatile memory. Unlike ROM, RAM is a volatile memory that requires power to maintain data accessibility. And all the data stored in RAM will be lost if you turn off the computer.

History of RAM

  • About in 1947, the first form of RAM came out along with the usage of Williams tube. It used CRT and stored data as electrically charged spots.
  • In 1947, the second form of RAM, magnetic-core memory, was invented. It relies on a series of magnetized rings. Each ring can store a bit of data and access the data at any time.
  • In 1968, Robert Dennard invented the RAM, which is now known as solid-state memory.

Types of RAM

RAM has many different types, and here comes the two main types of it: SRAM and DRAM.

DRAM – Dynamic Random Access Memory

  • DRAM requires the power to turn on to preserve stored data.
  • It uses transistors and capacitor pairs to store a bit of data (usually MOSFET and MOS capacitors, respectively) that together form the DRAM cell.
  • For the compensation of the capacitor’s leakage, the data on DRAM needs to be continuously refreshed with an electron charge every few milliseconds.
  • DRAM chips are much smaller and cheaper than an equivalent amount of SRAM.

SRAM – Static Random Access Memory

  • SRAM also requires constant power to retain the data.
  • It uses the state of a six-transistor memory unit to store a bit of data, especially using six MOSFETs.
  • The data on SRAM doesn’t need to be refreshed continually.
  • SRAM is much faster and consumes less power than DRAM.

Other Uses of RAM

Shadow RAM

This process of shadowing is typical in computers and embedded systems. When using shadow RAM, the operating system may not be able to access some hardware.

Virtual Memory

It is used as a way to extend RAM capacity in many modern operating systems. A portion of a computer’s hard disk is reserved for paging files or staging partitions, and a combination of physical RAM and paginated data makes up the total memory of the system.

RAM Disk

The software can “partition” a portion of the computer’s RAM so that it acts as a faster hard drive called a RAM disk. Data stored on the RAM disk will be lost when users turn down the computer unless the memory is scheduled as a standby battery source.

Final Words

In conclusion, RAM is an essential element in the computer. This article gives an overall introduction to RAM, including its definition, history, types, and usage. And you will have a general understanding of RAM after going through this page.


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