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Computer Memory (RAM)

Random Access Memory is a storage device for your computer's working data content. This means that it not only stores images and videos, but it also stores coding components that run portions of the device and its programs. RAM is able to be re-written and altered as new items are stored or when certain items need to be deleted or closed.

Does the amount of RAM influence a computer system's performance?

Yes, the amount of memory you have can significantly impact how well and how quickly your desktop or laptop performs. RAM can access any bit of data randomly, regardless of where it is. In contrast, your hard drive is more like a file cabinet. Data has to be retrieved in the order it was stored. To understand how RAM storage works, think of your RAM as a work table.

Anytime you give your computer a command or access a file, that information is retrieved from the hard drive. Once that file is open, you then need a work table to put the file on to read it. While you are reading the file, it is placed on the RAM until you're done with it. At that time, the file is placed back in your computer's file cabinet, in a manner of speaking. Having a larger desk to work at, if you will, allows your system's processor to handle more files simultaneously as well as improve speed, functionality, and access.

Can more RAM be added to a computer system?

Yes, you can buy units to be installed into a system's existing structure. Depending on your system, you can either add additional RAM chips or replace the existing chips with ones that can hold more data. Before doing this, you need to consider a couple of things. First and foremost, does your device have the physical space to accommodate the addition of a RAM unit? Some systems can only upgrade to a certain amount of memory, and this can vary from computer to computer. You then need to ensure that you are purchasing the correct type of RAM for your processor. Some processors run on 32-bit while others use 64-bit.

Are there different types of RAM?

There are two primary types. DRAM, or Dynamic Random Access Memory, and SRAM, or Static Random Access Memory. The difference between DRAM and SRAM is how the transistors function within the unit. Both memory types fulfill the same basic functions, but SRAM is slightly faster.

What is the difference between a MB and a GB?

At their most basic level, computers function off of a binary "bit" system. A byte is comprised of eight bits. A kilobyte is 1024 bytes. A megabyte is made up of 1024KB. A gigabyte is made from 1024MB. The next level from there is called a terabyte, which is comprised of 1024GB. See the pattern? You'll notice that all memory comes in multiples of 32 that the amounts double each time. Some memory options include the following.

  • 512MB
  • 1GB
  • 2GB
  • 4GB
  • 8GB
  • 12GB
  • 16GB
  • 32GB
  • 64GB
  • 128GB
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