What is RAM?

We explain what a RAM is, what it is for and how it works. In addition, the types of RAM and their characteristics.

What is RAM?

In computer science ,  RAM  (acronym for  Random  Access Memory , or Random Access  Memory ) is a type of operational memory of computers and computer systems, where most of the software will be run: the operating system itself, the software application and other similar programs.

Its name comes from the fact that information from it can be recorded or retrieved without the need for a sequential order (as is the case in ROM or  Read-Only Memory ), but RAM can be accessed   in the most Fast possible, with equal waiting time for any memory location. 

The  RAM  is also a form of temporary memory, which when turned off or restart the system is blank again. This considering that at the beginning of the system the basic operating modules (such as the POST or the BIOS), often registered in ROM, make a check of the  RAM  to ensure that it is operational and that the necessary software can be dumped into it Start the system.

This type of memory is not always soldered to the motherboard (in video game consoles, for example, it is), but it rests on removable and replaceable printed circuit boards in it, known as  RAM Modules . Each module has a number of memory chips and a specific capacity, currently measured in megabytes (1024 kilobytes) or gigabytes (1024 megabytes).

  1. RAM types

The SRAM maintains the data without the need for cooling circuits.

Today there are two different types of RAM memory:

  • SRAM . Acronym for  Static Random  Access Memory  (ie: Static Random Access  Memory ), designates a type of memory that is based on semiconductors and capable of maintaining data without the need for cooling circuits, as long as it is kept powered. Of this type are NVRAM ( Non- volatile Random  Access  Memory , or non-volatile RAM) and MRAM ( Magnetoresistive Random  Access  Memory , or magnetic RAM).   
  • DRAM . Acronym for  Dynamic Random  Access Memory  (that is: Dynamic Random Access  Memory ), it bases its technology on capacitors, which when gradually losing charge, require a refreshment circuit that checks their load and replenishes it. It was invented in the late 1960s and is the most commonly used type, because it allows modules to be created with a high position density and high recovery speed. Of this type are the Asynchronous DRAM and SDRAM ( Synchronous Dynamic Random  Access  Memory , or DRAM synchronous) memories .   
  1. What is RAM memory for?

The RAM is electrically connected to a memory concentrator device.

As said before, RAM is the operating memory of the computer system. It is the place where the various programs are going to run and remain active, from the operating system itself to the applications we use.

That is why it can happen that by keeping too many applications active simultaneously, the system’s RAM capacity is depleted and this has an impact on the quality and computation capacity.

The RAM memory is electrically connected to a memory concentrator device, which manages the incoming and outgoing signals thereof, usually consisting of three types of instruction: addressing, data and control signals.

  1. RAM and ROM memory

The differences between RAM and ROM have to do with:

  • The RAM is always open to intervention and information retrieval, at any time, while what is stored in the ROM can only be recovered and not intervened.
  • The RAM allows indiscriminate access to information, from any position or moment; while ROM requires sequential access to it.
  • RAM is much faster than ROM, so the data contained in the latter is often sent and executed in the former.
  • The RAM is removable, upgradeable, replaceable, while ROM modules are usually installed or welded to the motherboard by the computer manufacturer itself and cannot be manipulated by the user.

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