RAM is an integral hardware component of any computer system. The name RAM stands for Random Access Memory, so when you hear a tech refer
to a computer's "memory" they mean the RAM. The two words are often euphemisms. This can be confusing for some people because when they hear "memory" they think it refers to the space where they save
their data, which is false. While RAM is a type of storage, this storage is only for the system, and not the user. The computer's hard drive is
where the user saves his or her data. Furthermore, the storage in RAM isn't
permanent. Every time you turn off or reboot your machine the RAM gets
completely flushed out. Which is why when a user is having a problem with their PC, the first thing they hear from tech support is, "Have you tried restarting your machine?" Rebooting flushes out any bugs or glitches the system may have saved in it's memory.
So, RAM is temporary storage for the system. What does it store? Good question. RAM stores active programs and processes, program instructions, background services, and other system related mumbo jumbo. What does all that stuff mean? Well, when you turn on your computer, it immediately starts reading from the hard drive and loading parts of your operating system (usually Windows, or OSX if you're a Mac user) into memory. Once it boots up, even though you may not see anything happening on screen, the operating system needs to have a number of different things going on behind the curtains to run properly. These things are also loaded into memory. Then when you open a program, like Internet Explorer for example, the computer first reads it from the hard drive, loads it into RAM, and finally displays the program on the screen. Even once you're finished using Internet Explorer and you've closed it, there's a good chance it's still in the system's memory.
But your computer has a finite amount of RAM, and can only load so many things into it before running out of physical space. When this does happen and the system tries to utilize more RAM than what's physically available, the RAM becomes a bottleneck, and there will be a serious adverse effect on the overall speed of the computer. When a customer comes to us complaining that their computer is slow, the RAM is one of the first things we look at.
The amount of RAM in your system is represented by a number, usually in megabytes or gigabytes (1000 MB = 1 GB) . How much memory a computer needs depends on the software. The operating system will typically be the largest factor. Windows 7, Microsoft's current operating system, requires 1 GB of RAM, but we recommend 4 GB for a smooth experience. Most computers being sold with Windows 7 will have at least 4 GB of RAM, but with the cost of RAM being so cheap it's not uncommon to see computers being sold with 8 GB or even 16 GB!
One last important thing to understand about RAM is that adding more won't always speed up the system. RAM only affects the speed of the system when there's not enough of it. If your computer has 4 GB of RAM, and the system only utilizes 50% of that, bumping it up to 8 GB won't make the computer any faster.
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We support all major brands of computers and printers. Please call or send us an email with any questions.
Choice Computer Services, LLC.
393 Crescent Avenue Suite N
Wyckoff, New Jersey 07481
Monday Through Friday
9:00AM - 6:00PM
Saturday and Sunday closed