Everything about RAM: Factors to consider before buying
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Everything about RAM: Factors to consider before buying

RAM, or random-access memory, is a hardware device that can temporarily store the data from the operating system, applications in current use for the processor accessing easily. It is one of the most significant parts of the computer. RAM can play a huge role in the performance of a laptop RAM or computer.

The more RAM, the better it is. Better performance leads to a better user experience for the user over time. But there are different things to be considered before buying RAM. These factors can be used by the user to figure out the needs and factors needed to suit their arrangement for the laptop or PC.

Factors to consider before buying a RAM computer memory:

Frequency

Your motherboard will only accept certain frequencies of RAM, such as up to DDR3 1600MHz for example. Pick faster memory and you'll be forced to run it at a slower pace or it might not work at all. Pick slower memory and you will limit your system performance. As a general rule of thumb, higher frequency means higher performance, but other factors such as timings weigh in too.

Voltage

Some RAM will require voltage that is above the regular standard. Make sure that your motherboard can supply that much voltage if required. Voltage increases are also commonplace with overclocking. Note that it is not recommended to use more than 1.65V on the RAM with Core i7 processors or you risk damaging your processor.

Timings

Timings or latencies, refer to the delay between certain commands executed by your computer memory subsystem. To keep this simple, all you need to know is that lower timings are better as they will reduce latency and increase bandwidth.

Amount of RAM needed

That really depends on the needs, although I tend to recommend at least 2GB for any system, 4GB for a high-performance system. 4GB to 6GB is a must for a gaming RAM system if the user wants to run modern games. The more the better, especially considering the current low prices of RAM.

In case the user is building a new system, 8GB of RAM has become a standard. However, if the user ise building a system for gaming then 16GB to about 32GB of RAM should be ok. If one is building a system for production work, then would suggest 32GB or even higher so that programs can load faster. Dual-channel RAM is also a deciding factor when it comes to amount of RAM needed

32 or 64 bit

32 bit operating systems can only address up to 4GB of computer memory in total, including the memory on your video card and within your CPU RAM. If you plan on using 4GB of RAM or more, you'll have to use a 64-bit OS in order to be able to take advantage of all your RAM.

Capacity of RAM

RAM sticks are preferable to four, as it's easier for your motherboard or CPU RAM controller to handle only two sticks. Four RAM sticks can be a nightmare when it comes to compatibility and will also limit your RAM frequency and/or timings when it comes to overclocking. The capacity of RAM is also one of the key factors when choosing RAM. It depends on what your computer is used for.

Typically, 16GB of D RAM is a choice for the mainstream computer at present. For less budget, 8GB of RAM is also a pretty good choice. If the user is intended to build a basic computer for general use like browsing the web, doing word processing, and watching videos, it is recommended to choose 4GB of RAM. If building a high-end computer for gaming, hence gaming RAM is more useful, video editing, and graphics design, one may need 16GB or more of RAM to run the computer smoothly.

Warranty

Some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty. Some let you increase the voltage under warranty. RAM tends to be faulty when you reuse it after several years, so it's a good idea to buy it from a vendor who allows for an easy and painless RAM process.

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Single Channel vs Dual Channel RAM:

A single channel RAM operates on a 64-bit data channel, whereas dual channel RAM offers two 64 bits channels to store the data. This means the total operating memory you have with dual channel is 2*64 = 128 bits. This doubles up the bandwidth, which significantly speeds up your system.

Types of RAM

  • DDR RAM. Beyond obsolete, very unlikely to find a machine running on it (or RAM sticks using it)
  • DDR2 RAM. Obsolete, but not quite out of the wild yet. Many older desktops and laptop RAM use DDR2 RAM, though laptop RAM is a discussion for later.
  • DDR3 RAM. The current standard, supporting frequencies over twice as fast as DDR2 and higher capacities. Also cheaper than DDR2 RAM at the same capacities.
  • DDR4 RAM. The latest standard, though buying machines with DDR4 support can cost a pretty penny. Frequencies start at DDR3s high end of 2133, capacities can go even higher, and, due to being a newer standard, DDR4 is better-priced at the same frequencies and capacities than its DDR3 counterpart.

Pricing

Pricing for D RAM has been going up since last year on a global scale. It is also predicted that the rates will further increase till the year ends. So in case, the user has been planning on adding more or simply building a new system, it is probably wise to upgrade now before rates hit sky-high. The more RAM the user intends to add, the more pricey the device gets.

Speed of RAM

If you plan to game without a dedicated graphics card, you'll get noticeably better frame rates if you opt for faster (supported) memory. But if you have to spend more on components to support that speed, as well as higher-clocked memory, it may make more sense to splurge on a dedicated card that will deliver a better gaming performance overall. The amount of software that sees major gains from faster, tighter-timing memory kits is actually fairly small. Some games will see a benefit, as well as compression software like 7-zip, as well as some aspects of content creation software.

Conclusion:

Now we have a decent idea about the various factors which are to be taken into consideration before buying RAM. Each factor may vary according to the users needs and objectives. The more powerful the RAM is, the more expensive it will be.

RAM: FAQs

Q. What is RAM in a computer?

A. Random access memory or RAM is the internal memory of the CPU that is used for storing files, pictures, videos, movies, documents and other types of data. It is a hardware device that can be randomly accessed whenever needed and allows receiving and reading of the data almost instantaneously.

Q. What is the purpose of RAM?

A. The main purpose of RAM is to store data with read and write access, which is critical to the functioning of your computer. It is a volatile computer memory and is used by the CPU when a computer wants to store information that can be quickly accessed. RAM does not store any information permanently.

Q. What is RAM and ROM?

A. RAM is Random access memory while ROM stands for Read only memory. RAM is volatile memory and is primarily used to store machine codes and working data. ROM, on the other hand, is a non-volatile memory that is used to store permanent data which cannot be edited or erased. If you want to change the data present in ROM then you must transfer it to RAM.

Q. What are the 3 types of RAM?

A. Static RAM (SRAM), Dynamic RAM (D RAM) and Synchronous Dynamic RAM (SDRAM) are the three main types of random access memory that are used by your computer systems.