RAM memory – Concept, functions, uses and characteristics

We explain what a RAM is, what it is for and how it works. Also, the types of RAM and their characteristics.

RAM is where the operating system will run, for example.

What is RAM memory?

In computing, RAM (acronym for Random Access Memory, or Random Access Memory) is a type of computer operating memory and computer systems, where most of the software will run: the operating system itself, application software, and other similar programs.

Its name comes from the fact that information can be recorded or retrieved from it without the need for a sequential order (as is the case in ROM memory or Read-Only Memory, Read-Only Memory), but RAM can be accessed as quickly as possible, with an equal wait time for any memory location.

RAM memory is also a form of temporary memory, which when shutting down or restarting the system returns to blank. This is considering that at system startup the basic operating modules (such as POST or BIOS), often inscribed in ROM, do a check of the RAM memory to make sure that it is operational and that the necessary software can be downloaded to it. start the system.

This type of memory is not always soldered to the motherboard (in video game consoles, for example, it is), but rests on removable and replaceable printed circuit boards on the motherboard, known as RAM modules. Each module has a number of memory chips and a specific capacity, currently measured in megabytes (1024 kilobytes) or gigabytes (1024 megabytes).

RAM memory types

SRAM maintains data without the need for cooling circuits.

Today there are two contrasting types of RAM:

  • SRAM. Acronym for Static Random Access Memory (that is: Static Random Access Memory), designates a type of memory that is based on semiconductors and capable of maintaining data without the need for refreshing circuits, as long as it is kept powered. Of this type are NVRAM memories (No N-volatile Random Access Memory, or non-volatile RAM) and MRAM (Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory, or magnetic RAM).
  • DRAM. Acronym for Dynamic Random Access Memory (that is: Dynamic Random Access Memory), bases its technology on capacitors, which, as they progressively lose charge, require a refresh circuit that checks their charge and replenishes it. It was invented in the late 1960s and is the type most used today, as it allows the creation of modules with an enormous density of positions and a high recovery speed. Of this type are Asynchronous DRAM and SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory, or synchronous DRAM).

What is RAM for?

RAM is electrically connected to a memory hub device.

As stated before, RAM is the operating memory of the computer system. It is the place where the various programs will run and remain active, from the operating system itself to the applications we use.

For this reason, it can happen that by keeping too many applications active simultaneously, the RAM capacity of the system is exhausted and this affects the quality and the computing capacity.

RAM memory is electrically connected to a memory concentrator device, which manages its incoming and outgoing signals, generally consisting of three types of instruction: addressing, data, and control signals.

RAM memory and ROM memory

The differences between RAM and ROM have to do with:

  • RAM memory is always open to intervention and information retrieval, at any time, while what is stored in ROM can only be retrieved and not tampered with.
  • RAM memory allows indiscriminate access to information, from any position or moment; while ROM requires sequential access to it.
  • RAM is much faster than ROM, so often the data contained in the latter is sent and executed in the former.
  • The RAM memory is removable, expandable, replaceable, while the ROM modules usually come installed or soldered to the motherboard by the manufacturer of the computer and cannot be manipulated by the user.