Random Access Memory

What is RAM

Random Access Memory

RAM is essentially a super fast, high speed storage that your computer and its applications utilize to store and access temporary data. It can be thought of like a computer's short term memory. It works by storing common data that programs are in constant use of, rather than storing the data on a much slower medium like a Solid State Hard Drive (or SSD). RAM doesn’t automatically have data saved on each chip though. It has what's called volatile memory, or memory that erases when power is no longer flowing through it. But, programs like Google Chrome, Adobe Photoshop, and even Windows utilize RAM by inputting its core files upon start up.


As time went on, we’ve grown to understand ways to compute faster. Over the years, RAM speeds and capacity have increased so much that the only way we were able to accommodate for these speeds was to build different motherboards. Essentially, our way of computing has certainly changed, but almost every user wouldn’t have notice anything different.

At the time of this article, the most modern kind of of RAM is DDR4, which proceeded DDR3. DDR3 proceeded DDR2, DDR2 to DDR, and DDR to SDRAM -- each iteration being faster and more capable of a higher capacity of random access storage.


Nowadays RAM usually comes in either 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB sticks. Computers with less RAM can’t do many things at once. For example, if you only have 4GB of RAM you only have enough “short term memory” to do maybe one or two programs at a time. You won’t be able to use Netflix and Photoshop at the same time, without significant slow down. But remember that the system will throttle you to its slowest stick, or to the motherboard’s maximum.