In these days, we all use some type of computer or technological device to surf the internet for entertainment, businesses, or personal use. What makes a computer work though? What components are needed in order to have a complete desktop? Well in order to build a computer you would need a series of components such as a computer tower, CPU, Power Supply, Motherboard, GPU, Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Hard Drive, and especially RAM. We hear a lot about RAM these days and how everyone upgrades their RAM to increase performance in their system, but do we know how it actually works or what role it plays in a built computer system?Today people are growing up with technology all around them and technology is becoming much easier for people who arent even tech savvy. Components such as RAM were hard to install, and wasnt fully understood by people, but as of today with the many great advancements, it has been very easy for anyone to just install them. These days there is no memory that is quite enough. In the past it was quite unheard of to have more than a megabyte or two of memory, but as of todays systems, a lot of them require to have at least 64MB to run basic applications and more to run some graphical and multimedia programs. Major companies that provide RAM are very popular in demand that include companies such as Corsair, Kingston, Patriot, and as well as Mushkin. Corsair, providing high-performance memory for computer systems longer than any manufacturer and Kingston which has grown into the worlds largest independent manufacturer of memory products.
What is RAM?
What exactly is RAM though? RAM is referred to Random Access Memory, but within the computer industry people call RAM, just memory. Memory is the ability to retain data for a period or short or long periods of time. Even though all forms of memory work together in some type of way, RAM is considered the main source of memory since most of data is stored in RAM to hold temporary instructions and data needed to complete tasks. Thus, having more RAM increases the performance of a computer system. Random access memory is much faster to write and read than any other kinds of storage in a computer such as HDD, SDD, or optical drives. In RAM, the data always is always placed in it when a computer is running, but when a computer is shut off, all the RAM loses its data. This is what is considered as a volatile memory which the stored information is lost when there is no power.
Brief History of RAM
So how did RAM come about, and who invented it? Well the first practical form of random access memory was the Williams tube which started in 1947 and developed at the University of Manchester in England. The data was stored as electrically charged spots on the face of a CRT, which stands for cathode ray tube. It was considered random memory because the electron beam of the CRT could read and write the spots in any order on the tube. This was really efficient as it was much smaller and faster than the individual vacuum tube latches that they had previously. Around the same time, magnetic-core memory was invented and further developed through the 1970s. This relied on an array of magnetized rings that by changing the sense of each rings magnetization, the data was able to be stored with one bit stored per ring. About almost all of the rings had a combination of wires to select and read/write, which then it was possible to access memory in any location that is in any sequence. It was then replaced by solid-state memory in integrated circuits around the early 1970s but a fellow by the name, Robert H. Dennard invented DRAM which stands for dynamic random-access memory during the same time. With a few improvements he greatly increased the memory density at the cost of volatility. From these practices, computer engineers construct newer versions of RAM through the previous developments.
SRAM vs. DRAM
In todays technological world, there are various types of RAM, but there has been two widely forms of RAMS that are continuously used such as, SRAM and DRAM. Starting off with SRAM which stands for, Static Random Access Memory, is considered a more expensive route when buying RAM. Each of the SRAM bits is made up of between four to six transistors which making it a little pricier. It also holds numerous amounts of data without having to externally refreshing it as long there is some type of energy powering the circuits. Understanding all these advantages of Static Random Access Memory, there are a few disadvantages such as the cost of the item because it is for byte to byte and as well as the size to accumulate for the items in order to construct it which adds up the costs. Another form of RAM this is also widely used is DRAM, which stands for Dynamic Random Access Memory. Unlike SRAM which uses up to four to six transistors, DRAMs use only one which also comes with a capacitor. The only way for a DRAM to holds its memory, is if that it refreshes continuously. What happens in DRAM is that hundreds of times each second the circuitry reads the memory cells, and checks whether the cell is being used by the computer or not. If DRAM does not go through this refreshing action, then all the data that it was capturing gets lost and refreshing is one of the reasons that it is called dynamic. The most amusing thing is that DRAMs are mainly in all personal computers even though SRAM is a much faster form of RAM. The only two reasons why we do not see SRAM in our systems is because it is much more expensive than the DRAM, and DRAM is also much smaller than SRAM. DRAM does also come into two major form factors such as DIMMs and RIMMS. DIMMS contain 64- bit components and RIMMS use only a 16-bit interface.
The Future of RAM
In time we have seen many upgradeable performances made onto the RAM and the different sizes as well. But for being more than a decade long and still messing with the same models, does it just stop there? Experts have been trying to conduct new studies on how to increase the performance and upgrade the random access memory for a while now. Many of the aspects of the technological development was to increase the memory and have fast read and write speed to provide to everyone, but still today people want or need something even more greater which experts have starting to create, RRAM which stands for resistive random access memory. Unlike other RAMs, the power needs to be on in order to store the data without it being lost, but with RRAM and its non-volatility memory technology, it can store information even when the computer is off and has no source of power connected. It works by have low voltage levels and it stores bits of information using resistance instead of having electrical charges to alter the bits around in a memory cell. So with having less bit space, you could store so much more information. RRAM comes with a lot of benefits such as, being much more durable, using low voltage, requires less bit space, and has a very simple structure that provides very good scalability.
With the amount of technology that we have today which requires memory, many companies have started competing to be the best in the market for RAM. Everyone needs random access memory in order to run multiple programs or just multitasking. Companies such as Samsung, SK Hynix, Micron Group, Nanya, Winbond, and others have been competing for the Global Market Share of the DRAM chip market since 2011. Samsung being the top leading manufacturer has held a market share for DRAM of 35.5 percent and never falling below that percentage. Coming in second, SK Hynix has kept a steady market share for the past 5 years not taking over more than 30 percent of the market with Micron Group following closely behind being almost head to head with its competitor. The most recent market share, which is the second quarter in 2016 shows that Samsung still leads the way with 47.4 percent share in the DRAM market and SK Hynix still far behind with 26.5 percent market share. From these numbers we can see that not a major leap has been established and that it relatively remains constant. Until new RAMs start coming into the market with higher performance speeds such as the RRAM, then it might provoke newer companies to start competing that could possibly hurt Samsungs percentage in the market.
Random access memory has come a long way since the tubes from 1947 to the small chips of 2016. We have gone through years of advancement which has increased the performance and read and write speeds for RAMs. With computers being a part of our daily lives and handling multiple tasks and applications, RAMs help make that possible which stores data to the side while running another application of some sort and does not lose the data until there is no more power. With the development of SRAM and DRAM, options are now more open to the public with the ability to choose between one of them. Companies are always looking for more advanced ways to manage their tasks and data that is involved, and with the rumor of RRAM in its midst and its high performance speeds and low voltage requirements people might not have to hold their breath much longer. Random access memory has been a major component in computers and we do not expect to see much of a decline in the market for them. With the great advancements of technology, and the need of increased performances in our systems, random access memory does not seem on losing any interests when building a personal computer. Thus being, random access memory will begin to live on with future advancements.
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