Whether you’re a casual gamer or an avid photo editor, adding RAM to your computer can improve performance. However, you should know what you’re getting into before purchasing RAM.
PC RAM is a type of volatile memory that stores data temporarily before it’s processed. It comes in the form of rectangular DIMMs or SO-DIMMs and is available in several capacities.
It stores data
The computer uses RAM to store the data it processes. Whether you’re typing a document, playing a video game, or browsing the web, your computer executes a lot of processes to make that happen. It’s much faster to process that data in RAM than on a hard drive, which is why more RAM is better.
When the processor needs information it’s stored in RAM, it sends a signal to the memory module to read it. Each cell in a RAM chip contains two electronic components: a capacitor that can be filled with electrons or empty, and a transistor to control the flow of electricity.
Memory modules plug into slots on the motherboard, and a set of electrical paths called the bus connects them to the CPU. Nonvolatile memory, like that in a hard disk or SSD, doesn’t depend on constant power and won’t lose its information when the power goes off. RAM, on the other hand, depends on continuous flow of electricity and loses data when the system shuts down.
It speeds up processes
Unlike your hard drive, where information is stored in folders and files, RAM allows computers to read data in nanoseconds. This makes it much faster to work in programs. If your computer doesn’t have enough memory, it must resort to a page file on the hard drive to store applications and data, which takes significantly longer than reading from RAM.
Without RAM, the CPU would have to spend its time navigating the hard drive for every piece of data it needs to access when working in programs. This is why you often see your computer slow down when you open too many tabs in Chrome or forget to close one of your streamed movies.
Adding more RAM to your computer can significantly improve its performance, but it’s not a magic bullet. There are other factors that affect computer speed, including the CPU, motherboard, and storage. New types of non-volatile memory are also being developed, using technologies like carbon nanotubes and tunnel magnetic resistance.
It allows for multi-tasking
Buying a new PC is often a big decision, and it’s important to decide how much RAM to buy. A higher amount of RAM may boost performance in some programs, but it can also lead to instability. The best way to determine how much RAM you need is to look at the programs you use. For example, if you frequently open multiple tabs in your browser, 8GB of RAM should be fine. However, you may need 16 GB if you plan on using design software like Blender or Photoshop.
RAM is temporary storage and can process information significantly faster than data stored on a hard drive. For this reason, it’s important to regularly clear wasteful RAM clutter from your computer, which can be accomplished with a specialized software program.
RAM is an essential component of a modern computer, and upgrading it can improve performance. However, it can be expensive. To save money, you can buy a memory kit that includes both RAM and a compatible motherboard. In addition, you can find great RAM deals during PC sales events.
Most programs won’t respond differently with faster or slower memory, but some can benefit from it, such as file compression software. More RAM can also reduce system crashes and make multitasking easier.
If you’re building a new computer, a standard 16GB kit of DDR4 RAM should suffice. This will manage the minimum requirements for most games and will be sufficient for everyday productivity. You can even go beyond that, but it’s overkill for most systems. For maximum performance, you can use DDR5-RAM, which has higher data rates than DDR4. However, supply-chain shortages have made it difficult to buy DDR5. This type of RAM costs more but is a good investment if you need it for work or gaming.