Random Access Memory, commonly known as RAM, is a type of computer memory that can be read and changed in any order, typically used to store dynamic data and machine code. RAM is a critical component of the computer hardware found in desktop computers, laptops, gaming consoles, smartphones, tablets, and more. In its simplest terms, RAM is the memory space electronic devices used to store the varying small pieces of information on said device. RAM is most commonly in the form of integrated circuits, a type of computer chip. Integrated circuits are a volatile chip, meaning the information stored on them is lost once the device is turned off. RAM consists of both multiplexing and demultiplexing circuitry to connect the data lines to the proper storage system for reading or writing the entry. RAM computer hardware components have multiple data lines and are considered 8-bit or 16-bit devices.
A simple way to understand random access memory is to think of your computer like a brain. The massive hard drives are similar to your brain’s long-term memory, while RAM represents your short-term memory. Although RAM and your hard drive are both sources of memory, they are vastly different components. The hard drive permanently stores things like files, applications, and the operating system. RAM, on the other hand, temporarily maintains the information needed to operate programs. RAM essentially keeps these programs on stand-by and accesses the information on an as-needed basis. Because of this, the more RAM you have, the better your computer programs will operate.
Before deciding how much RAM your device needs, you should be aware of how the amount of RAM affects performance capabilities. 2GB of RAM will allow you to run simple programs and basic operating tasks. However, this amount of memory is only enough to do one or two simple things at once without slowing down. The more you ask of your device, the more it will slow down. 2GB of RAM works for smartphones and tablets, but desktops and laptops will require more to perform as intended. 4GB of RAM will make a significant difference. This will allow you to run multiple tabs on your browser, use several lightweight programs at once, stream music, videos, and play videogames.
8GB of RAM will bring a further increase in performance, but also require an upgrade of your device. A 64-bit computer is necessary to handle this amount of RAM. Older machines and smaller devices should not have more than 4GB of ram installed. 16GB of RAM will provide the peace of mind that your computer will perform perfectly. With that amount of random access memory, you can run large programs like Photoshop, AutoCAD, and more without compromising the speed of your computer. Professional video editors, graphic designers, and gamers will be more than capable of operating at 100% with 16GB RAM. 16GB will also allow users to stream 4K Ultra HD videos, but may require a faster internet connection.
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