RAM (random access memory) is the digital countertop that stores your computer’s programs. It lets the computer retrieve them instantly, unlike older methods of storage.
If a program needs more memory than your PC has available, it will slow down. That’s because it must shuffle data between your computer’s slower hard drive and RAM.
It’s like a digital countertop
RAM is a crucial component that lets your computer perform many day-to-day tasks, from browsing the web to launching programs. It also helps your computer run smoothly and quickly. The more RAM you have, the better your PC will work.
Like a kitchen countertop, your computer’s RAM serves as a workspace where data sits temporarily as you work with it. When you click on a link, the RAM stores information needed to translate that link into the web page you see. Afterward, your computer moves the data from your digital countertop to its long-term storage on your hard drive.
The amount of data that can be stored in RAM is governed by its capacity and transfer speed, known as bandwidth. Most RAM today comes in a rectangular flat circuit board with memory chips attached, often referred to as a “memory module.” Its speed is usually rated by the number paired after the letters DDR or PC, such as DDR3-1600 or DDR5-12800.
It’s like a filing cabinet
Whether you’re typing up an email, editing a spreadsheet, or playing a video game, the computer is completing many processes behind the scenes. These tasks are much faster if the data is stored in RAM instead of on a disk drive.
RAM is a temporary storage component of the operating system. It’s similar to an office desk where you keep documents within arm’s reach. When you’re done, you put those documents away in the filing cabinet. This is how RAM works, except the contents of your RAM are wiped when you turn off your computer or reset it.
The more RAM you have, the more things your computer can process simultaneously. This is especially important for complex programs like Adobe Premiere Pro and video games. If you want to increase your PC performance, consider upgrading both your RAM and storage. Having more RAM will make it easier to run multiple programs at once, while improving your computer’s storage will speed up loading times and improve battery life.
It’s like a drawer
Like a drawer on your desk, RAM serves as temporary storage for data that applications need right now. It is also used to keep your processor working efficiently. When a program needs more memory than is available in RAM, the computer has to start shuffling data between the hard drive and RAM, which slows down the system.
Whenever you open a file, run a software program, or even play a video game, your CPU executes many different processes. Behind every process, there is a huge amount of work going on. This work is made much faster if it’s stored in RAM instead of the slower, longer-term storage on your hard drive.
It’s like a desk
Like a desk, RAM keeps the things you need for immediate access close at hand. It can process information much faster than the long-term storage offered by hard disk drives, up to twenty or more times faster depending on hardware and task.
If your computer operating system wants to load a new program, for example, it will move data from the slow storage of the hard drive into the quicker working space of RAM. This takes up to a nanosecond, so the program starts running almost instantly.
If your system has more work to manage than its RAM can handle, it must start shuffling files between RAM and the slower hard drive, causing performance problems like freezing or the spinning cursor. More memory helps to avoid this problem by letting your computer operate at the speed of its processor. It’s like putting more files on your desk so that they aren’t so tightly packed together that it’s difficult to find what you need.