What is RAM (Random Access Memory)?

If you’re looking to buy a laptop or upgrade your desktop computer, it helps to know what RAM is. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about RAM and why it’s so important.

While it can be a bit overwhelming trying to learn all the different components of your PC, it’s important to know which RAM is important as it can have a big influence on your PC’s performance.

That’s why we’re here to clear up any confusion about what RAM is and why it’s so important. Keep reading to find all the answers to your RAM questions and be sure to send us a message at Twitter if you have any other questions that we haven’t covered here.

What is RAM?

RAM (which stands for Random Access Memory) is also often referred to as “memory”.

But RAM doesn’t mean the amount of storage space your computer has, like a hard drive. Instead, RAM is where all the data currently in use (or that will be in use in the near future) is stored on your device. Accessing RAM should be very fast, unlike a hard drive, which has more storage space but is much slower.

Since the RAM won’t remember anything you do once you turn off your device, it’s called “volatile” technology, because once it loses power, it lose everything. That’s why it’s so ideal for handling multiple high-speed tasks at once.

Essentially, you can think of RAM as the computer’s short-term memory. It can track the YouTube video you are playing, all the games you have, and all the tabs you have open. But it won’t remember what you were doing yesterday, which is where storage space comes in.

RAM vs disk storage

RAM merges with storage space or disk space even though they are different components. RAM only stores the data you need now, essentially remembering what you’ve been doing since your PC was turned on, and will delete all that data once you turn off your device.

Storage space, on the other hand, is where all your data is permanently stored, and unlike RAM, it won’t be erased every time you shut down your PC. This is why storage space is so important, and why SSDs or HDDs can be very useful, as they can also retain information when your PC is off, while RAM is waiting in the wings ready for anything. charge very quickly once your device is turned on again.

RAM also has much less storage space than permanent storage because RAM is designed to let information flow in and out as needed, rather than stay there long term. And since storage drives take everything your PC needs to remember, like any downloaded software or apps, it needs a lot more storage space.

Storage for RAM is much more expensive per gigabyte than disk storage. The average laptop will only have around 8GB of RAM, while gamers typically double that to 16GB. But storage drives usually come in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB versions.

How much RAM do I need?

In the same way that you can fill up your computer’s storage, you can also fill up RAM. About 10 tabs open on a web browser will eat up around 1GB alone, which is when you’ll start to see your PC slow down a bit.

Once this happens, your device will start using its disk storage, also known as virtual memory, which is much slower. A storage drive is much slower to read and write data than RAM, which is why you want enough RAM so you don’t have to dip into your storage space too often.

Generally, 8GB of RAM should be enough for most people, although anyone looking to edit video or play games will want to aim a bit higher, perhaps 16 or 32GB.

And RAM isn’t just limited to your laptop and PC; your smartphone is also packed with RAM which helps it switch quickly between apps without stuttering. You can’t upgrade your phone’s RAM, so you’ll need to make sure you have enough before buying a phone.

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