What Is PC RAM?

RAM is your computer’s short-term memory. It holds the information your processor needs to operate your apps and open files.

When that information is no longer needed, it gets moved back into long-term storage (a much slower process). The better your computer’s RAM capacity, the faster everything runs. This is why it’s important to choose the right kind of RAM for your computer.

What is RAM?

RAM is a short-term memory that stores information your computer may need in the future, like the data for web pages and apps you’re working with. That’s in contrast to hard drives and SSDs, which store data for the long-term.

When you click on a link in a browser or load up a new game, the CPU needs that info to be ready and waiting in RAM. This is how your computer can handle these tasks so quickly.

Inside your computer, you’ll find RAM modules that look like rectangular flat circuit boards with memory chips attached. The best PC RAM modules have low latency (the time between clock cycles), which allows them to work faster. That’s why it’s important to choose the right size and type of RAM for your PC. The more GB you get, the better your system will perform. You can also increase the performance of your computer by closing down apps and reducing the number of tabs in your browser, or changing the default startup programs to speed things up.

How does RAM work?

The main purpose of RAM is to quickly store data that your computer processor needs for current applications and files. After that, the data is saved for longer term storage in disk drives like traditional hard disks and newer solid state drives.

Your PC’s memory is made up of tiny capacitors that are filled and refilled with electricity. The data in each capacitor is stored in the form of a binary code that can be accessed with a simple bit flip. The memory controller uses a row and column address line etched into each chip to find the right cell and send the information to the CPU over a data line.

Having more RAM cuts down on the number of times the CPU must read data from disk, which takes longer than reading from memory. But that isn’t the only factor in overall system performance. You can also speed up your PC by regularly clearing wasteful clutter from the memory.

How much RAM do I need?

When deciding on how much RAM you need, consider your computing habits. If you’re a light user with a few programs open at the same time, 4GB of RAM will suffice. Anything less will cause your computer to feel laggy.

More RAM can help you play games better, as it reduces the amount of data your system needs to swap back and forth from storage to memory. This can make for quicker load times, less lag and sharper graphics.

For gamers, 16GB is recommended. It will give you the headroom you need to run modern games, and even leave a little wiggle room for multitasking and other demanding tasks. Serious video editors and graphic designers will need 32GB or more to ensure that their programs will run without a hitch. If you’re doing AI development, or using a complicated IDE, 64GB is the way to go. You can find detailed information about your current RAM configuration by launching Task Manager, selecting the Performance tab and clicking System Info.

Which RAM is best?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to selecting the best RAM for your computer. In fact, many people might be surprised to learn that most modern computers can run perfectly well with just 8GB of RAM. The amount of RAM you need will depend on the type of applications you use and the work you do.

For example, if you’re just browsing the web and editing basic documents and images, then 4GB will probably be plenty. However, if you use photo-editing programs like Photoshop or Final Cut Pro and are working with multimedia files, then 32GB is a good option.

Desktop PCs can use a variety of types and speeds of RAM, with DDR4 being the most common. Gamers and hardcore computer users may want to opt for high-clocked RAM above 2,400MHz, but this isn’t as necessary for regular use. Laptops and tablets usually feature Low-Power Double Data Rate (LPDDR) memory that runs at lower speeds to save on power consumption and battery life.