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Random Access Memory (RAM)

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A computer is an electronic device, but it is very similar to a Human Brain. The human brain has memory, and it is the most essential part played by the brain, memory helps in remembering things, and people remember their past due to the memory present in the brain, similarly, computers have memory too.

What is a Computer Memory?

In order to save data and instructions, memory is required. Memory is divided into cells, and they are stored in the storage space present in the computer. Every cell has its unique location/address. Memory is essential for a computer as this is the way it becomes somewhat more similar to a human brain.

In human brains, there are different ways of keeping a memory, like short-term memory, long-term memory, implicit memory, etc. Likewise, in computers, there are different types of memories or different ways of saving memories. They are cache memory, primary memory/main memory, and secondary memory.

Types of Computer Memory

There are three types of memories. Cache memory is helpful in speeding up the CPU as it is a high-speed memory, It consumes less time but is very expensive. The next type is the main memory or primary memory which is used to store or hold the current data, It consists of RAM and ROM, RAM is a volatile memory while ROM is non-volatile in nature. The third type is Secondary memory, which is non-volatile in nature, it is used to store data permanently in a computer.

Types of Memory

Types of Memory

What is RAM (Random Access Memory)?

It is one of the parts of the Main memory, also famously known as Read Write Memory. Random Access memory is present on the motherboard and the computer’s data is temporarily stored in RAM. As the name says, RAM can help in both Read and write. RAM is a volatile memory, which means, it is present as long as the Computer is in the ON state, as soon as the computer turns OFF, the memory is erased.


Random Access Memory

In order to better understand RAM, imagine the blackboard of the classroom, the students can both read and write and also erase the data written after the class is over, some new data can be entered now.

History of RAM

In 1947, the Williams tube marked the debut of the first RAM type. The data was saved as electrically charged dots on the face and was used in cathode ray tubes. A magnetic-core memory was the second type of RAM, which was created in 1947. RAM was made of small metal rings and each ring connected with wires. A ring stored one bit of data, and it can be easily accessible at any time.

The RAM as solid-state memory, was invented by Robert Dennard in 1968 at IBM Thomas J Watson Research Centre. It is generally known as dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and has many transistors to hold or store bits of data. A constant power supply was necessary to maintain the state of each transistor.

In October 1969, Intel launched its first DRAM, the Intel 1103. In 1993, Samsung launched the KM48SL2000 synchronous DRAM (SDRAM). similarly In 1996, DDR SDRAM was commercially available. In 1999, RDRAM was accessible for computers. In 2003, DDR2 SDRAM began ready to sold. In June 2007, DDR3 SDRAM ready to being sold. In September 2014, DDR4 became ready to be sold in the market.

How Does RAM Work?

RAM is constructed of small transistors and capacitors, much like CPUs and other computer components, which can stored an electric charge that corresponds to data bits. electrical charge is necessary to regular charge of it. If not, the data removed from RAM and the capacitors lose their charge.

Saving any modified data to the hard disc or SSD is crucial because data can be lost so rapidly when the battery is gone. Additionally, it explains why so many programmes include autosave options or cache unfinished work in the event of an unplanned shutdown. Data from RAM can be retrieved by forensic experts in some situations. However, the majority of the time, after finishing a file or your computer shuts down, the information in RAM is gone.

Features of RAM

  • RAM is volatile in nature, which means, the data is lost when the device is switched off.
  • RAM is known as the Primary memory of the computer.
  • RAM is known to be expensive since the memory can be accessed directly.
  • RAM is the fastest memory, therefore, it is an internal memory for the computer.
  • The speed of computer depends on RAM, say if the computer has less RAM, it will take more time to load and the computer slows down.

How Much RAM Do You Need?

The system’s RAM requirements depend on what the user is doing. For editing videos, for instance, a machine should have at least 16 GB of RAM, though more is preferable. A machine needs also have at least 3GB of RAM in order to run Photoshop CC on a Mac for photo processing, according to Adobe. Even 8GB of RAM, meanwhile, can cause a slowdown if the user is using many apps at once.

Types of RAM

RAM is further divided into two types, SRAM – Static Random Access Memory and DRAM- Dynamic Random Access Memory. Let’s learn about both of these types in more detail.

1. SRAM (Static Random Access memory)

SRAM is used for Cache memory, it can hold the data as long as the power availability is there. It is refreshed simultaneously to store the present information. It is made with CMOS technology. It contains 4 to 6 transistors and it also uses clocks. It does not require a periodic refresh cycle due to the presence of transistors. Although SRAM is faster, it requires more power and is more expensive in nature. Since SRAM requires more power, more heat is lost here as well, another drawback of SRAM is that it can not store more bits per chip, for instance, for the same amount of memory stored in DRAM, SRAM would require one more chip.

Function of SRAM

The function of SRAM is that it provides a direct interface with the Central Processing Unit at higher speeds.

Characteristics of SRAM

  1. SRAM is used as the Cache memory inside the computer.
  2. SRAM is known to be the fastest among all memories.
  3. SRAM is costlier.
  4. SRAM has a lower density (number of memory cells per unit area).
  5. The power consumption of SRAM is less but when it is operated at higher frequencies, the power consumption of SRAM is compatible with DRAM.

2. DRAM (Dynamic Random Access memory)

DRAM is used for the Main memory, it has a different construction than SRAM, it used one transistor and one capacitor (also known as a conductor), which is needed to get recharged in milliseconds due to the presence of the capacitor. Dynamic RAM was the first sold memory integrated circuit. DRAM is the second most compact technology in production (First is Flash Memory). DRAM has one transistor and one capacitor in 1 memory bit. Although DRAM is slower, it can store more bits per chip, for instance, for the same amount of memory stored in SRAM, DRAM requires one less chip. DRAM requires less power and hence, less heat is produced. 

Function of DRAM

The function of DRAM is that it is used for programming code by a computer processor in order to function. It is used in our PCs (Personal Computers).

Characteristics of DRAM

  1. DRAM is used as the Main Memory inside the computer.
  2. DRAM is known to be a fast memory but not as fast as SRAM.
  3. DRAM is cheaper as compared to SRAM.
  4. DRAM has a higher density (number of memory cells per unit area)
  5. The power consumption by DRAM is more

Types of DRAM

  1. SDRAM: Synchronous DRAM, increases performance through its pins, which sync up with the data connection between the main memory and the microprocessor. 
  2. DDR SDRAM: (Double Data Rate) It has features of SDRAM also but with double speed. 
  3. ECC DRAM: (Error Correcting Code) This RAM can find corrupted data easily and sometimes can fix it.
  4. RDRAM: It stands for Rambus DRAM. It used to be popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It has been developed by the company named Rambus Inc. at that time it competed with SDRAM. It’s latency was higher at the beginning but it was more stable than SDRAM, consoles like Nintendo 64 and Sony Play Station 2 used that.
  5. DDR2, DDR3, AND DDR4: These are successor versions of DDR SDRAM with upgrades in performance

Random Access Memory(RAM) – FAQs

Q.1: What are the uses of RAM?


Information which has to be accessed easily is stored in RAM. This means that running numerous processes, opening numerous programmes, or accessing several files at once will probably consume a lot of RAM. The greatest RAM is used for more complicated programmes, such as games or design software.

Q.2: How much RAM do I have?


On a computer or laptop running Microsoft Windows, determining the amount of RAM is quick and easy.

  • Open System Information into the Start menu to launch it.
  • Menu to find out how much installed memory there is, scroll down to Installed Physical Memory (RAM) from the list.

Q.3: How much RAM is on my Mac?


In a few clicks, you can quickly determine how much RAM your Mac has.

  • Select the Apple icon In the top-left corner.
  • Choosing “About this Mac”.
  • After clicking on “Memory Icon” you’ll see how much RAM your Mac has.

Q.4:How much RAM do I need?


Calculating how much RAM you need depends on what you use your computer for. It can range from 8GB of RAM for general computer usage and web browsing to 64GB for gamers and multimedia creators.

Q.5: Write a difference between SRAM and DRAM?


Below are three main Difference between SRAM and DRAM.

More power is requiredLess power is required
More expensiveLess expensive

Last Updated : 25 Aug, 2023
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