RAM and ROM: Computer Memory What is Right and Wrong For You

Computer memory can be an overwhelming topic especially when faced with the seemingly never-ending list of acronyms such as RAM, ROM, DRAM, SRAM, DDR, SDRAM etc. The easiest way to decide which computer memory is right for you, is to think about your own basic requirements. For most, the basic considerations are the standard of memory, the capabilities of their computer’s motherboard, and the speed of memory they require.

As with new releases, computer memory generations are updated with increased memory bus and speed capabilities of the RAM module format, leading to increased performance. It is important to consider the capabilities of your motherboard. For example, if your motherboard has a DDR3 slot, it won’t work with the newer DDR4 nor the older DDR2. It is also important to remember that laptop RAM and desktop RAM are not one of the same.

Memory capacity is described in terms of “sticks” and “kits”. A stick of memory is equivalent to one module of memory. A kit of memory amounts to 2 or more modules of memory. Similar to earlier, you must consider the capabilities of your motherboard before choosing your memory capacity. If your motherboard has 2 slots, it follows that you can only install 2 modules of memory. Likewise, the GB per module limit must be taken into account. Generally speaking, you need at least 4GB of RAM to run a computer. This amount of memory is not ideal however, which is why most recommend 8GB of RAM for a new computer. .

The performance of your computer memory can be assessed in terms of speed and timing, The speed rating of your RAM module is an expression of its data transfer rate. The faster the number, the faster your computer can store and retrieve the data stored in local memory. Timing is expressed as a series of four numbers such as 8-8-8-24. Essentially, memory timing is centered around the period of latency. This is how fast the RAM module can access its own hardware. Lower latency means faster data access, therefore faster operation of your computer overall. Though it may be tempting to go for the lowest latency, you should take into account that the overall performance differences are slight.

Overall, before making any decision on memory, you should begin by researching the capabilities of your computer motherboard as this will tell you the scope that you’re working within. From there, you can choose your memory according to your speed preferences. Consider your overall usage of your computer to determine how important the various memory specifications are to you.


January 10, 2024

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