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RAM Memory

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The system memory (RAM) plays a crucial role in the performance of your computer. It holds all the instructions that the processor executes and also the data those instructions work with. Therefore, its capacity determines how many programs can run simultaneously on your system.

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Use in:

  • PCs - standard memory modules for desktops
  • Servers - feature registers and error-correcting systems that usually work only on specialised motherboards
  • Laptops - smaller in size
  • Apple - memory modules that will work reliably with your Mac

How much memory (RAM) will I need?

  • 2 GB - minimum for the average office work.
  • 4 GB - for multimedia, web browsing, video playback and running multiple programs simultaneously.
  • 8 GB - for occasional gaming and demanding office applications. Sufficient for the vast majority of modern applications and technologies.
  • 16 GB - ideal for gamers and users who use computers very often.
  • 32 GB and more - if you use rendering software such as CAD programs, work with graphics software, or edit video.

What type (standard) of RAM to choose?

  • Type (standard) - The type of memory must always match the specifications of the motherboard or processor. The DDR/2/3/4 standards are not backwards nor forward compatible.
  • Memory Frequency - Higher memory frequency means higher data bandwidth. The maximum data transfer speeds are affected by the maximum frequency of the processor's memory controller and memory bus. These can be adjusted by overclocking or changing the multiplier.
  • Voltage - Must always be less than or equal to the maximum value that is listed on your motherboard. For use in laptops, special low-voltage modules (DDR3L/4L) are designed to reduce power consumption.
Type (standard)memory frequencyVoltage (DDR / DDRL)
DDR200 - 400 MHz2.5 to 2.6 V
DDR2400 - 1066.67 MHz1.8 V
DDR3800 - 2133.33 MHz1.5 / 1.35 V
DDR42133.33 - 4266.67 MHz1.2 / 1.05 V

How does the RAM's frequency affect your computer's performance?

  • With an integrated graphics card - the higher the RAM frequency, the better graphics performance you get. Especially in 3D games, a faster RAM can significantly boost the graphics card's performance - in some cases even up to 50%.
  • With a dedicated graphics card - the influence of the RAM frequency on your graphics card's performance is minimal (up to 5%). However, if you use multiple graphics cards, the influence is greater.

Closely related to memory frequency is memory timing - eg. CL9-9-9-24 (latency in ns), which refers to the time lag between the reception and execution of an instruction. With two memory modules running at the same frequency, the one with a lower CL is always better. The CL's influence on your computer's performance, however, depends mainly on the particular application the memory has to process.

Multi-channel connection Dual / Triple / Quad Channel

When it comes to multichannel processing (2/3/4), it pays off to adhere to the recommended number of memory modules for your system. This can give you a performance boost especially in:

Games

  • With an integrated graphics card, you can get even 100% more power.
  • The impact on the performance of a dedicated graphics card is, however, almost unnoticeable.

Rendering - a 3-10% boost in performance can still be significant for difficult calculations.

3D simulation and compilation (CAD / CFD calculations) - a 20% increase in performance over single-channel processing.

For proper function, it is usually necessary to use the exact same memory modules in all memory slots.
For setting the correct slots in the multi-channel mode, check their colour marks.

Important terms

  • Passive heatsink - usually an aluminium heatsink which is mounted on the memory chip for better heat dissipation and more efficient cooling.
  • XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) - Intel technology that allows the BIOS to automatically set even non-standard parameters such as the frequency, timing, and voltage.
  • Unbuffered - A standard type of memory used in home PCs and laptops.
  • Registered - A type of RAM designed for use in servers. It uses a special register which decreases the memory controller load and thus enables the server to use a large number of RAM modules. Moreover, this type of memory often features ECC.
  • ECC - A function which detects and corrects errors.
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RAM Memory

RAM Memory

RAM system memory
The RAM memory is an essential part of every computer. The exact term is RWM - RAM (RWM - Read Write Memory, RAM - Random Access Memory). It refers to the fact that this type of memory can be repeatedly written to and read from and can also be accessed randomly. The capacity and speed of the installed memory greatly affects the performance of your computer. A computer can use several memory modules at once. These hold all the instructions that the computer's processor executes, i.e. the data of all programs you use. The data is not stored permanently in the RAM memory. Each time the computer shuts down, the whole memory is completely erased. The system memory is used for this purpose because it is much faster than a standard hard drive and it provides significantly shorter access time. This ensures lightning-fast data transfers between the memory and the processor. Generally speaking, the more RAM you have, the better performance you get.

The history of operating memory is quite rich. During a relatively short period of time, a large number of technologies were tried and used. For example, in the beginning of its evolution, system memory was made of ferrite. In the 1950s, magnetic drum-shaped memory modules were made. Nowadays, DIMM memory (Dual Inline Memory Module) uses modern semiconductors.

Types of operating memory
System memory can be divided into many different types. Desktop computers and laptops use essentially the same type of memory, but it still differs in dimensions. Most computers and laptops use the DDR (Double Data Rate), DDR2 (currently the most common) or the newest DDR3 memory. These share the basic architecture, but later generations offer better performance. The DDR, DDR2 and DDR3 are not mutually compatible. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully choose what type of memory to buy. When choosing a new memory module, take into consideration what types, capacities, and frequencies are supported by your motherboard.

Other types of memory
There are many other devices labeled as memory. These have, however, a completely different purpose. Apart from RAM, there are memory banks (HDB), memory cards (for data storage, for example in phones), and portable memory sticks (used to transfer data between computers).

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