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What is RAM?
Random Access Memory (RAM) is a form of computer data storage. It takes the form of memory chips connected to the computer's internal motherboard.

RAM provides space to read and write data to be accessed by the software programs that are running on your computer at any point in time. When people refer to a computer's memory, they usually mean its RAM. Current systems normally have RAM sizes of 1GB, 2GB, 4GB or 8GB. Some older systems may have 512 MB or less.

There are different types of RAM and if you are upgrading the RAM size in your computer, you need to make sure you get a chip that is compatible with the type of RAM that you already have installed.

Older systems use SDR (Single Data Rate) RAM. Newer systems have DDR (Double Data Rate) RAM. The latest enhancements are DDR2 and DDR3 which are faster than the original DDR chips.

Every window that you have open on your screen uses RAM. Your hard disk has a section reserved for RAM overflow called a pagefile. When a program tries to load and there is not enough RAM available, the processor it clears some room in the RAM by writing some of the data to the pagefile. When the CPU needs to access the data in the pagefile it then has to read it from the hard disk instead of grabbing it directly from RAM and this is one of the main reasons for slow or poor performance of a computer.

If you add more RAM to your computer, you reduce the number of times your CPU must read data from your hard disk. This usually allows your computer to work considerably faster, as RAM is many times quicker than a hard disk.
RAM is volatile, so data stored in RAM stays there only as long as your computer is running. As soon as you turn the computer off, the data stored in RAM disappears.

See these topics for more information:
Software Basics
Slow Computers

If you are looking to increase the size of your RAM or upgrade other computer hardware, visit our Purchase Assistance page to see how we can help you.

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