File-It-Under: Explaining Tech By: D.F.Skinner!~
We all know that there is this piece of known hardware called memory or RAM ,its in all of our devices, its in our computers,smartphones, tablets TV's and Camera's.We all know the more memory we have,better we can store and run applications.But,do we really know the importance of RAM? Or why do we even need RAM to run our entire system,the answer is yes.Welcome to the third of installment of Explanation Needed where we focus our attention on the inner workings of RAM.
So what is RAM? It is acronym for random access memory,this is type of computer component that can access byte randomly without accessing or touching preceding bytes.There are two types of RAM and a difference in how both these RAMs behave,there is DRAM(Dynamic Random Access Memory) which is common in both laptop and desktop computers,then there is SRAM(Static Random Access Memory).Both types of RAM are different in technology they're used to hold actual data,DRAM which is in your computer right now needs to be refreshed a thousand times per second to hold data,just like how your TV or computer monitor needs to be refreshed to hold a image.With SRAM,it is much faster than DRAM and does not need to be refreshed.DRAM has a much slower access time at 60 nanoseconds,where SRAM access time is much faster at 10 nanoseconds.Both these types of RAMs are similar in that they are volatile,which basically means they lose data once the computer is powered down.That's why during the boot process of your computer your applications load into your memory before beginning normal operation.
So you might be asking yourself this question,why isn't SRAM used as your main memory in your computer systems,well for the most part,SRAM has very complex technology within therefore it is expensive to produce. SRAM does serve an very important purpose,its used in workstations,embedded in routers,smartphones and used in many other peripheral equipment.But in regards to our computers,SRAM is used as CPU register files what we call L1 OR L3 cache,its also acts a buffer in hard drives.In theory if you think about it,solid state hard drives uses some type of SRAM,technically is assembled integrated circuits in the form of memory,which is probably why a SSD's are still rather expensive.
Now lets get real in depth in regards to our own computer system that uses DRAM,for the most part,our laptop and desktop computers today (Macs included) uses DDR3 SDRAM which is acronym for double data rate type 3 synchronous random access memory. Its the more common and modern kind of dynamic random access memory that uses very high bandwidth interface.In fact,DDR3 SDRAM has been in use since 2007 which replaced DDR2. The primary benefits of using DDR3 RAM over DDR2 is the transfer rate is doubles that of the late generation DDR2 ,also power consumption use is less than 30%.
So for the average not so geek computer user,what is the main measuring stick you're looking for in memory,or I should say quality RAM,for one storage,you're looking at capacity which is in the form of gigabytes,the highest capacity on one RAM stick can reach 8GB. More importantly speed is probably the most important which measures in MHz,most RAM sticks can reach speeds up to 1066 MHz which is bus clock and memory clock at 266 MHz.Now if you want to really get geek technical in measuring quality RAM,we look at timing which looks like this 2-2-2-2 and we measure in CAS latency which is acronym for Column Address Strobe latency. CAS latency is delay time between the memory controller which tells the memory module to access data from a memory column within RAM.
Bottom line,memory is the most important component next to the preocessor within your computers system,in fact,you can't boot up your computer without it.It's most critical piece of hardware needed to run applications,albeit smartphones,computers,TV's and audio gear all use some form of memory.