Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 | laptops, technology
RAM is an acronym for Random Access Memory.
You can think of RAM as the short-term memory of your laptop. It is a temporary working space a computer uses to get work done and it gets cleared when the machine is switched off.
The RAM of your laptop can be compared to a workbench, or table. While you are working on a project, you put all the tools and materials on the workbench. When you’re done, you put all the items away neatly in the places where they belong. In a similar way programmes and data are loaded into the RAM when you are working on them, but when you are done, your work is stored electronically on a disk for later use. The RAM is then cleared for other activities.
When the workbench is small, you can do small projects on it, one at a time. If you want to tackle bigger projects, or if you want to work on more than one project at a time, you either have to move tools and materials on and off the workbench to create space, or get a bigger bench.
This is exactly what happens with your laptop. If you have little RAM, you may be slowed down if you are performing complex tasks, of if you want to work on a few things at the same time. Programs and data must be swapped into and out of the RAM all the time to create working space. When you increase the amount of RAM, your laptop won’t have to move data and programmes around so much – you will then perceive your machine to be faster.
Don’t worry about the swapping of data and programmes into and out of RAM – this is handled automatically by the operating system of your computer. You will not be aware of these activities at all and may only get an inkling of it when you notice that the laptop is slower than usual.
Unlike human memory, the laptop’s memory can be extended by adding extra RAM.
The good news is that your laptop will come to you with sufficient RAM to carry out all the tasks that you likely would need to perform. It is only when you move into the realm of complex computing – or get some fancy games – that you have to consider a RAM upgrade.
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