Everyone’s heard that they need more RAM in their computer. “It’ll help things run faster!”, “Chrome tabs eat the stuff for breakfast….”, “Dedotated WAM”, whatever it is, you’ve heard it too. But you might not know what it is. Here’s a crash course on RAM.
RAM, or Random Access Memory, is a form of high-speed storage that your computer needs in order to process tasks quickly. When you open a Chrome tab, for example, a basic version of that page goes to RAM so that system resources can access it in quick succession. RAM has two main advantages over other types of storage that make it capable of running such demanding tasks at high speeds; it is wired to connect directly to the CPU, and it uses a simple and fast technology to store data. The latter point has an imaginary asterisk next to it because there are faster types of RAM than your desktop RAM, but you likely won’t run into this, so we can ignore the asterisk and move onto that technology in question. The chips you see on your DIMM actually hold the information, and each bit of information gets its own capacitor and transistor. That’s it. This simplicity lends itself to high speed and high density, which is what you want in a consumer computer. High speed is achieved by sending electrical signals billions of times per second (most DDR3 RAM operates between 1333MHz and 2133MHz, but DDR4 can reach speeds of over 3200MHz)*. Uh oh, asterisk time. [*As the frequency of the RAM increases, so does CAS latency. This largely negates the high speeds, but some chips can maintain high speed and low latency.] That ties in nicely to the connection with the CPU. When your CPU is performing 3.5 billion operations per second and your RAM is getting up there in speed as well, your entire computer runs more seamlessly. Tasks are able to be completed fasted due to this direct link, whereas they would take longer if there were some intermediary between the RAM and the CPU.
Odds are, you do actually need more RAM. If your computer seems sluggish, this is a great way to give it some more life. Don’t let the most simple of upgrades hold you back!