The Importance of Computer RAM

RAM is crucial to your computer’s performance. Without it, your CPU would have to constantly read data from your internal storage, a much slower process.

Luckily, there’s plenty of information you can find out about your RAM using software like CPU-Z and Speccy. The “Memory” tab in these tools will show you a bunch of useful information, such as the type, current frequency, and formfactor of your RAM modules.

How RAM Works

RAM is where your computer stores the data that it needs right away. It’s a fast form of short-term storage that’s significantly faster than the long-term storage offered by your computer’s hard drive or solid-state drives.

The key to understanding how RAM works is that it’s volatile. That means it loses all the data stored in it when your computer shuts down.

The data in your RAM is kept in memory cells, which contain capacitors. These cells have to be refreshed periodically or the memory will forget what it’s holding, which slows down your computer. Your computer has multiple kinds of RAM, including dynamic RAM (DRAM) and SRAM. Today, most computers use DDR4 RAM, which has advanced features like lower power consumption and faster transfer rates. RAM comes in modules that snap into memory slots on your motherboard. The amount of memory you need depends on how many programs you run at once and the types of apps or files you work with.

How Much RAM Do You Need?

For most everyday computing tasks like surfing the web, writing in a word processor and managing digital photos, 8GB is the absolute minimum. However, if you plan to multi-task and want to run demanding programs at the same time, then 16GB is the better choice.

If you’re a heavy gamer, then 32GB is ideal to prevent your system from slowing down to a crawl and to allow you to play the latest games at a high frames-per-second rate. Professionals who need to handle large data sets or use demanding software may also need to invest in a 64GB setup.

While RAM is an essential component in most modern computers and laptops, it’s not as common to understand as other computer hardware components, such as the processor or hard disk drive. However, it’s an important factor in your device’s overall performance and can make the difference between a smooth experience and one that grinds to a halt.

What Type of RAM Do I Need?

Computer RAM is a key component for the performance of any computer. While a powerful processor speeds things up, without enough memory, you can experience slowdowns and freeze-ups when switching between tasks.

Most computers run on DDR RAM, with the latest models using DDR4 or even faster. DDR stands for double data rate, which means that the memory can send data twice per clock cycle. This is much quicker than the first generation of memory, which used to only be able to send data during the peak of the pulse.

The amount of RAM you need depends on your computing needs and budget. If you’re going to be using your computer for basic web browsing, word processing and photo editing, 8GB of RAM is usually sufficient. For more demanding applications like gaming or video editing, you’ll want to look at 16GB of RAM or higher. You can find out what type of RAM your computer has by looking in the “About this PC” section of the settings menu or by running a system diagnostic program.

How Do I Know How Much RAM I Have?

You can check your computer’s installed RAM by searching for “System Information” on the Windows Start menu. Once it opens, click on the Performance tab. This shows you how much your system has installed and how much it is using. You can also get more detailed information by opening up Task Manager and selecting the Memory view. This gives you more information on the type of RAM your system has, the speed, and other details.

Remember, the more memory you have, the more efficiently your computer can multitask. Think of it as if your computer has a prefrontal cortex, your hard drive’s storage space is the long-term memory, and RAM is the short-term working memory. It is where your computer keeps all the data it needs at the moment to work on current tasks. RAM processes data significantly faster than a hard disk — up to twenty times quicker, depending on the hardware and task.