RAM (Random Access Memory)

Written by: Leandro Torrico


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What is RAM?

Random-Access Memory, or RAM, is a high-speed memory device that temporarily stores information on the computer. The data is stored and accessed in any order (hence the Random-Access), providing the system with information it needs just at that moment. A computer's performance is heavily reliant on the amount of memory possessed. Without sufficient memory size, the system will offload memory function to hard drives, where the system will then experience crippling slow downs. This fast performing memory module was once a series of cathode ray tubes known as vacuum tubes. Once the modern transistor was developed, Random-Access memory evolved into the current core memory component.

Since RAM is a vital component in nearly every electronic device, the semiconductor market has seen massive growth in the last 10 years. Major players like Samsung and Micron continue to dominate these markets as they continue to trend upwards. RAM's commerical and consumer functions make it a very lucrative technology to grow and develop. Improvements to the synchronous RAM architecture has created faster clocked and lower latency modules that reach the limits of volatile memory. Area's like the gaming industry are reaping the benefits of this faster memory, experience greater performance gains than in previous iterations. DDR4 is the fastest availble consumer memory, allowing clock speeds in excess of 5000 mhz (Overclocking).

As the Volatile memory chip approaches the limits of its architecture, new categories of RAM continue to be developed. The newest and most promising of these developments is Non-Volatile Memory. NVRAM can retain data while being powered down, where no other form of RAM is capable of doing so. Being able to run of a CMOS battery, NVRAM can continously monitor several system functions. Improvements in speed, and power effeciency make this a very exciting evolution in modern memory. Much like RAM continues to improve, solid-state drives also make tremendous leaps. These flash memory based drives have improved so much so that it nearly approaches the speeds of a RAM module. This blurring of lines is known as RAM & SSD convergence.

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