Technical Paper: What is RAM and How to Optimize it.

What Is RAM?

Random Access Memory (RAM) is a hardware unit that enables the information to be stored and retrieved on a computer. The computer can access the data much faster, because information is accessed randomly, not sequentially, as on a CD or a hard disk drive. However, as compared to the hard drive, RAM requires power to keep the data accessible. If the computer is switched off, all RAM data is lost.

When the computer is started, drivers and parts of the operating system are loaded into memory. As a result, the CPU is able to process the instructions faster and make the boot process faster. After the operating system has started, each opened program is loaded into memory while it is running. In cases when too many programs are open, the computer will exchange the memory data between the RAM and the hard disk drive.


RAM Types

The most common types of RAM are:

  • DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Module). This module contains RAM chips on a small circuit board. The chips are connected to the computer motherboard by using pins.
  • RIMM (Rambus Inline Memory Module). This module uses less than the a DIMM and has different pin characteristics.
  • SO-DIMM (Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Module). This module is a smaller alternative to a DIMM.
  • SO-RIMM (Small Outline Rambus Inline Memory Module). This module is a smaller alternative to a RIMM.


RAM History

In 1947, RAM appeared in its first form of with the use of the Williams tube. It used a cathode ray tube (CRT) and data was stored on the face of the CRT as electrically charged spots.

In the same year, the second form of RAM was invented. Magnetic-core memory works through the use of tiny metal rings and wires that are connected to each ring. One bit of data per ring is stored and can be accessed at any time.

RAM in its modern look was first invented in 1968 by Robert Dennard who used transistors to store bits of data. They were known as dynamic random access memory, or DRAM.


Ways to Improve RAM

If your computer starts running slow, it means that its RAM is overloaded. There are at least two solutions to this problem: