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RAM Types and Features


RAM is used for programs and data as well as by the operating system for disk caching (using RAM to hold recently accessed information). Thus, installing more RAM improves transfers between the CPU and both RAM and hard drives. If your computer runs short of RAM, the operating system can also use the hard drive as virtual memory, a slow substitute for RAM. Although the hard drive can substitute for RAM in a pinch, don’t confuse RAM with mass storage devices such as hard disks or SSDs. Although the contents of RAM and mass storage can be changed freely, RAM loses its contents as soon as you shut down the computer, while magnetic storage can hold data for years. Although RAM’s contents are temporary, RAM is much faster than magnetic or SSD storage; RAM speed is measured in nanoseconds (billionths of a second), while magnetic and SSD storage is measured in milliseconds (thousandths of a second).

Ever-increasing amounts of RAM are needed as operating systems and applications get more powerful and add more features. Because RAM is one of the most popular upgrades to add to any laptop or desktop system during its lifespan, you need to understand how RAM works, which types of RAM exist, and how to add it to provide the biggest performance boost to the systems you maintain.




Most desktop computers use full-sized memory modules known asDIMMs. However, laptop computers and some small-footprint mini-ITX motherboards and systems use reduced-size memory modules known as small outline DIMMs (SO-DIMMs or SODIMMS).



RAM Comparisons

RAM Type Pins (DIMM) Pins (SODIMM) Common Type and Speed Defining Characteristic
DDR SDRAM 184 2001 PC3200 = 400MHz/3200Mbps Double the transfers per clock cycle compared to regular SDRAM.
DDR2 SDRAM 2402 2001 DDR2-800 (PC2-6400) = 800MHz/6400Mbps External data bus speed (I/O bus clock) is 2x faster than DDR SDRAM.
DDR3 SDRAM 2402 204 DDR3-1333 (PC3-10600) = 1333MHz/10,600Mbps External data bus speed (I/O bus clock) is 2x faster than DDR2 SDRAM (4x faster than DDR SDRAM).
DDR4 SDRAM* 288 260 DDR4-2400 (PC4-19200)= 2400MHz/19200Mbps External data bus speed (I/O bus clock) is 2x faster than DDR3 SDRAM (8x faster than DDR SDRAM).
UniDIMM*3 260 DDR3 or DDR4 Designed for use with Intel Skylake (6th generation Core i-series CPU); memory controller on motherboard/ processor must support both DDR3 and DDR4 memory


Uses of RAM

Here, are important uses of RAM:

  • RAM is utilized in the computer as a scratchpad, buffer, and main memory.
  • It offers a fast operating speed.
  • It is also popular for its compatibility
  • It offers low power dissipation

Performance Comparison of RAM Types

Standard Time in Market Internal Rate Bus Clock(MHZ) Perfectch Data rate(MT/s) Tranfer rate(GB/s) Voltage
SDRAM 1993 100-166 100-166 1n 100-166 0.8-1.3 3.3
DDR 2000 133-200 133-200 2n 266-400 2.1-3.2 2.5/2.6
DDR2 SDRAM 2003 133-200 266-400 4n 533-800 4.2-6.4 1.8
DDR3 2007 133-200 533-800 8n 1066-1600 8.5-14.9 1.35/1.5
DDR 4 2014 133-200 1066-1600 8n 2133-3200 17-21.3 1.2

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