Ram virtually and physically essential

Finding the right desktop or laptop memory? Some cheaper, some too expensive. Upgrading your RAM is essential since it will make your PC run more faster and smoother. So this article will teach you on where to look for cheap but superior memory modules online and will display about some info’s about this computer peripheral. More of this after the hop.

For those who don’t know about RAM, this info was took off WikiPedia:

Random access memory (usually known by its acronym, RAM) is a type of computer data storage. Today it takes the form of integrated circuits that allow the stored data to be accessed in any order, i.e. at random. The word random thus refers to the fact that any piece of data can be returned in a constant time, regardless of its physical location and whether or not it is related to the previous piece of data.

This contrasts with storage mechanisms such as tapes, magnetic discs and optical discs, which rely on the physical movement of the recording medium or a reading head. In these devices, the movement takes longer than the data transfer, and the retrieval time varies depending on the physical location of the next item.

The word RAM is mostly associated with volatile types of memory (such as DRAM memory modules), where the information is lost after the power is switched off. However, many other types of memory are RAM as well (i.e. Random Access Memory), including most types of ROM and a kind of flash memory called NOR-Flash.

Types of RAM

Modern types of writable RAM generally store a bit of data in either the state of a flip-flop, as in SRAM (static RAM), or as a charge in a capacitor (or transistor gate), as in DRAM (dynamic RAM), EPROM, EEPROM and Flash. Some types have circuitry to detect and/or correct random faults called memory errors in the stored data, using parity bits or error correction codes. RAM of the read-only type, ROM, instead uses a metal mask to permanently enable/disable selected transistors, instead of storing a charge in them.

As both SRAM and DRAM are volatile, other forms of computer storage, such as disks and magnetic tapes, have been used as “permanent” storage in traditional computers. Many newer products such as PDAs and small music players (up to 160 GB in Jan 2008) do not have hard disks, but often rely on flash memory to maintain data between sessions of use; the same can be said about products such as mobile phones, advanced calculators, synthesizers etc; even certain categories of personal computers, such as the OLPC XO-1, Asus Eee PC, and others, have begun replacing magnetic disk with so called flash drives. There are two basic types of flash memory: the NOR type, which is capable of true random access, and the NAND type, which is not; the former is therefore often used in place of ROM, while the latter is used in most memory cards and solid-state drives, due to a lower price.

Memory hierarchy

Many computer systems have a memory hierarchy consisting of CPU registers, on-die SRAM caches, external caches, DRAM, paging systems, and virtual memory or swap space on a hard drive. This entire pool of memory may be referred to as “RAM” by many developers, even though the various subsystems can have very different access times, violating the original concept behind the random access term in RAM. Even within a hierarchy level such as DRAM, the specific row, column, bank, rank, channel, or interleave organization of the components make the access time variable, although not to the extent that rotating storage media or a tape is variable. (Generally, the memory hierarchy follows the access time with the fast CPU registers at the top and the slow hard drive at the bottom.)

In most modern personal computers, the RAM comes in easily upgraded form of modules called memory modules or DRAM modules about the size of a few sticks of chewing gum. These can quickly be replaced should they become damaged or too small for current purposes. As suggested above, smaller amounts of RAM (mostly SRAM) are also integrated in the CPU and other ICs on the motherboard, as well as in hard-drives, CD-ROMs, and several other parts of the computer system.

Swapping

If a computer becomes low on RAM during intensive application cycles, the computer can resort to swapping. In this case, the computer temporarily uses hard drive space as additional memory. Constantly relying on this type of backup memory is called thrashing, which is generally undesirable because it lowers overall system performance. In order to reduce the dependency on swapping, more RAM can be installed.

Other uses of the term

Other physical devices with read/write capability can have “RAM” in their names: for example, DVD-RAM. “Random access” is also the name of an indexing method: hence, disk storage is often called “random access” because the reading head can move relatively quickly from one piece of data to another, and does not have to read all the data in between. However the final “M” is crucial: “RAM” (provided there is no additional term as in “DVD-RAM”) always refers to a solid-state device.

“RAM disks”

Software can “partition” a portion of a computer’s RAM, allowing it to act as a much faster hard drive that is called a RAM disk. Unless the memory used is non-volatile, a RAM disk loses the stored data when the computer is shut down. However, volatile memory can retain its data when the computer is shut down if it has a separate power source, usually a battery.

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