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Random Access Memory (RAM)

  • Last Updated : 16 Jun, 2021
Geek Week

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, people remember their past due to the memory present in the brain, similarly, computers have memory too.

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 very 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, Secondary memory.

Types of 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 the data permanently in a computer.



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 ON state, as soon as the computer turns OFF, the memory is erased.

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.

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.

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.

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 the 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.

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), it is needed to get recharge in milliseconds due to the presence of 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 program 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 higher density (number of memory cells per unit area)
  5. The power consumption by DRAM is more.

Conceptual Questions

Question 1: Memory that is erased when the electricity is removed?

1. ROM

2. Non- volatile

3. Volatile

4. Static

Answer:

Volatile memory is erased after the electricity is removed.



Hence, 3. Volatile.

Question 2: Differentiate 3 things between SRAM and DRAM.

Answer:

Difference between SRAM and DRAM,

SRAMDRAM
More power is requiredLess power is required
More expensiveLess expensive
FasterSlower

Question 3: What does RAM means?

1. Only Read memory

2. Only Write memory

3. Both Read and Write memory

4. Permanent memory

Answer:

It means both Read and Write memory. Hence, 3. Both read and write.

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