Random Access Memory, or RAM, is one of the most important components of the devices we use, from computers to smartphones to game consoles. Without RAM, it would be much slower and time consuming to do almost every operation on any system. Lack of enough RAM can also cause applications or games you play to not work properly or even not open at all.
So, RAM, what exactly is it? In a nutshell, it’s an extremely fast component that temporarily stores all the information your computer or smartphone needs right now and in the near future. Accessing this information in Ram is incredibly fast, as opposed to storage that provides longer-term storage but is slower.
Rams are basically your device’s short-term memory. All services in Windows temporarily store the data that everything running on your computer, such as your web browser, image editing tool, or game you’re playing, needs instantly. Every time you open a new browser tab or play, you don’t want your processor to get the necessary data from slower memory, such as a hard disk or solid state drive (SSD). Although storage devices have significantly accelerated compared to past periods, they are still slower than Ram.
Data contained in RAM can be read at almost the same speed from anywhere in memory. Because it is connected to your system by a socket, not a cable, there is no real or significant delay.
But the Rams can’t remember everything forever. This is a” volatile ” technology. In other words, when your system shuts down or the power goes out, the data contained in Ram is forgotten, it is kind of deleted. This is perfect for overcoming the many high-speed tasks the system does on a daily basis. But it also requires storage, such as hard drives or SSDs, that is slow, but holds data forever.
Different types of RAM
RAM is a common term for all types of memory. When people argue about RAM or memory, the topic is often technically about DRAM (dynamic random access memory) or SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory) in more modern systems. Terminology is not important from technical specifications, but it can be useful to know that terms are relatively interchangeable in colloquial language.
The most common type of RAM sold today is DDR4. But on older systems, it is possible to see DDR3 or even DDR2. The numbers indicate which generation the RAM module is produced based on, such as Generation representations on processors. Each new generation offers higher bandwidth and higher speeds. Higher speed means a higher megahertz (MHz) value. Each generation also has physical differences, so they cannot be used interchangeably.
Another type of RAM, especially in the areas of video games and video cards, is VM or Video-RAM. Used to specify the memory on the graphics card. Although it was not a stand-alone technological product in the early days, it is an integral part of graphics cards today. It can also represent system memory on game consoles. But in both cases, it represents memory specifically reserved for the video card. DDR or GDDR types are commonly used. In new generations, it is usually GDDR6.
Most modern video cards use GDDR6 type memory. However, some video cards may use different types of memory. HBM (High-Bandwidth Memory) is also one of them. HBM has its own performance advantages. But production costs are high, and their availability is more difficult than GDDR memory.
Memory Capacity Is Not Everything
The most important element when buying RAM is how much capacity you need. A minimum amount is required to run and keep the operating system afloat. Again, some is also required to surf the internet, watch videos, or play games. Although the amount of RAM was initially determined at a level of several MB (Megabyte), today Ram has increased to GB (Gigabyte) levels. Although the Minimum RAM requirement ranges from 4 to 8, 16 GB of RAM has gradually become a requirement in a modern rendering or gaming system.
Having Ram above the Minimum value is advantageous because it prevents bottlenecks, allows you to perform multiple operations at the same time, allows you to easily open applications that want high RAM in the future. But, of course, it also has a limit, and increasing the amount of RAM will not affect it at some point.
The only important feature of RAM is not its size. More gigabytes can be of great benefit when using multiple apps simultaneously. In addition, faster memory will positively affect overall speed in applications and games.
Clock rates, timings and memory channels
As with the processor, RAM has its own clock speeds. The clock speed in Rams, when combined with several other factors, effectively controls how much data it can process per second. The total speed of memory is specified under the name bandwidth and is specified in megabytes per second (MB/s). But end-user memory is traditionally marketed with megahertz (MHz) speeds.
A typical DDR4 memory runs between 2133MHz and 3000MHz, but among the fastest kits available, there are also some memory that can run at speeds up to 4800MHz.
You can see that this type of memory is marketed in DDR4-3000 or similar ways. In addition, there is also a confusing “PC” tag. The number after the phrase “PC” is obtained by multiplying the MHz value by 8 and rounding the resulting result; for example, DDR4-3000 PC-24000.
Timing (Timings) values are another factor that seriously affects RAM performance, but not as important as the years when Ram first came out. These effectively specify the time between clock cycles. As the memory speed increases, the timing values also increase. This reduces the delay value. Usually, timing values are listed by means of several numbers separated by a line. As an example, 15-15-15-35.
When purchasing RAM kits, timing values are really important only if high performance or top-of-the-line acting is desired. Timing values are not important to average consumers.
Finally, let’S talk about RAM channels. Most memory modules sold today are sold to support dual channel technology. This means that between a memory slot and the memory controller of the processor, there are two buses (buses) instead of one.
But this design also brings with it some handicaps. In order to use RAM modules in this configuration, you must have at least two modules, and the values of these modules, such as capacity, clock speed, timing, must also be exactly the same to avoid problems. High-level RAM models also have kits that support more channel configurations, but they are ideal for 4 channels and above instead of dual channels.
In everyday use, multichannel memory will not have an impact on performance. In addition, if you want to take advantage of dual or more channel support, you must install memory modules in the correct slots of your motherboard.
How important is RAM?
RAM is extremely important. Too little RAM can cause poor performance. Although it is not as important for phones and tablets as it is for computers, the amount of RAM becomes important for each device as technology develops. But using high-size memory modules or using high-clocked modules will not increase the speed of the system at the same rate. Remember, RAM is only part of the general equation.
However, having enough memory is important, and having non-slow RAM modules is a good idea, especially for complex image or video editing tasks or playing games with CPU limitations.
But when it comes to improving the overall performance of a computer, it is also necessary to consider costs. A faster processor or graphics card has a greater impact on the overall speed of the system, usually than faster RAM modules. However, some processors, such as AMD’s Ryzen series, benefit more from faster memory than others.
The slowest component on any computer, phone, or game console is usually the main factor limiting performance. Therefore, slow memory can slow down your system or device. Even if you don’t have a busy usage layout, a little more capacity and speed than you need can be considered when choosing RAM.
For a more powerful memory, there are a wide range of different speed, size, and delay configurations to choose from. Some even have RGB LED lighting!