Guide To RAM And Its Working
Have you ever thought what are the primary things that increase the speed and performance of a computer? Well, there are many! But today we are going to discuss one of them, the RAM. RAM is one of the most important parts of the computer.
We can say that without sufficient RAM, a computer is could be little more than a paperweight depending on the usage you are planning to give it.
A person should always consider RAM before buying a computer, laptop, or any other device. But many people don’t even know the important aspects of buying RAM, which results in the waste of money either buying devices that have more RAM than they’ll ever need or far less than what their daily tasks require. Overall, not using the right RAM with the right processor can lead to disasters.
If you also don’t know much about RAM and you are looking to buy one for your laptop, then you can head to 9to5gadgets to get your laptop-specific RAM upgrade tutorials where they generally have several laptops covered.
But if you are interested in RAM and want to know more about it, then you can continue reading this post. Because this blog post is a complete guide on everything you need to know about laptop RAM.
So let’s start with the most basic question.
What is RAM?
RAM is a short form of RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY. It is used to store the working data in the computer. It does not store data permanently and stores it before it is processed.
The amazing thing about RAM is that it can access data randomly hence the data fetched by RAM has a fast speed. The bigger your RAM is, the faster your processor will work.
How Does RAM Work?
The working of RAM is very simple. The everyday tasks on your computer like opening an application or browsing the internet are done with the help of RAM. RAM is faster than other forms of memory because the data can be randomly fetched which is a faster way of accessing data.
The data that is being used is stored in RAM and that is the only work that it does. If you open an app or a game, the data is stored in the RAM and as soon the power is cut or you shut down your computer, the data from RAM will be lost.
It is a more efficient way than storing data on another form of memory.
How Much RAM Do you Need?
It completely depends on your usage. If you use the computer for daily browsing then you will require less RAM. But if you are a gamer or a programmer then you will require a lot of RAM.
For Casual Usage
For simple usage, it is recommended to have 8 GB of RAM. 8GB of RAM is enough to run your computer smoothly with daily browsing and casual use. You can watch Youtube videos, and play online games. Use Instagram or other social media websites. Your computer will work fine.
If you are a gamer and you like to play games of large size and high graphics then the recommended amount of RAM is 32GB. You can play all kinds of games with 32GB RAM but it also depends on the type of games you play. In all cases, 32GB RAM is enough. It’s also worth mentioning that for a fully-fledged gaming laptop you will also need a dedicated graphics card but that’s a whole other story. Here’s our comprehensive list of the best gaming laptops you might want to take a look at.
For Office Workers
If you are an office employee and you do office work on your computers like using MS Excel or other spreadsheets. Then the recommended RAM is 16GB. It also depends on your workload. If you work purely on the computer and you are always on spreadsheets and MS Excel then 16GB RAM would be good for you. However, if you work on cloud-based admin software and don’t usually have several tabs open at a time then you could get by with 8 GB in a pinch.
How to Know if you need more RAM?
It is very easy to identify whether you need more RAM or not. If your computer shows the following signs then you need to upgrade your RAM.
- Lag– if your computer lags while typing or using applications then you might need an upgrade.
- Random Crashes– if your computer crashes apps randomly without a lot of loads then you need to upgrade your RAM
- Slow Loading– if it takes forever to open an application then it is a sign of a RAM upgrade.
If your computer shows the above-given signs then you should upgrade your RAM.
Can you Upgrade your Laptop’s RAM?
Yes, you can upgrade your laptop’s RAM. Most of the laptops already have an extra slot for RAM. You can add an extra RAM there to upgrade your laptop’s RAM. But if your laptop has only one slot then you can change your existing RAM with a better one.
It is placed on the back of your laptop and you can change or add RAM yourself. If you don’t know how to do it, you can watch Youtube tutorials or maybe go to a laptop repair shop, they will do it for you.
What’s the difference between DDR3 and DDR4 RAM?
DDR3 is an older version of Double Data Rate. On the other hand, DDR4 is the newer version and also the replacement for DDR3. DDR4 is better than DDR3 because it has better data transfer speed, consumes low power, and has higher module density.
It should also be noted that RAM is not backward compatible, meaning that you can’t have one module that’s DDR3 and another one that’s DDR4 on the save device since the specs for the RAM generation are determined by the processor.
The frequencies and transfer speeds also made significant upgrades when swapping from one generation to the next. DDR3, launched in 2007, could operate at speeds between 400 and 1066 MHz whilst the newer DDR4 generation increased clock speed from a minimum of 1066 MHz to a maximum of 2133 MHz. The same goes for the transfer rate, going from a maximum capacity of 2133 MB to 3200 MB on the latest DDR4.
Wattage is also slightly lower on newer DDR4 modules, allowing for longer battery life.
How Does Clock Speed Impact a RAM’s performance?
The clock speed doesn’t affect RAM’s performance as much as it does with CPU clock speed. So, it is not very important to have a higher clock speed of RAM. But it is always better to have faster components in the computer – as long as it’s allowed since you might come across a motherboard that only works with specific clock speeds -. In any case, you don’t have to worry about the clock speed of RAM as the CPU. But it is better to have a higher clock speed.
What Is Dual Channel RAM and why is it important?
Dual-Channel RAM is a technology in which two RAM sticks work on two channels and they work simultaneously to obtain a faster transfer speed. The use of dual-channel RAM will increase your computer’s performance, so it is recommended that one should always have dual-channel RAM.
To have dual-channel RAM you’re going to need both RAM sticks to be identical in specs. Otherwise, you run the risk of your device not recognizing the fact that you’ve got dual-channel RAM and getting stuck with a laptop working on single-channel RAM. On paper, you’ve got more RAM but the laptop won’t necessarily work faster if both modules aren’t identical in generation, speed, and voltage.
Should both RAM units on my laptop be identical?
As we mentioned before, it’s common practice amongst those who upgrade RAM modules to have both modules be identical so that you can have your device operating in dual channel mode.
If that’s not the case you’re going to be stuck with a device that has more memory but doesn’t work as fast as it could. That’s why if you have an empty slot on your computer and one that’s taken up by another module it’s always a good idea to check the exact specs of the module that’s already on the device and replicate them on your new module.
By exact specs, we mean clock speed, voltage, and generation.
Is 8GB RAM enough?
It purely depends on the usage of the laptop. If you are a casual user then 8GB RAM is ideal for you. But if you are a gamer then it won’t be enough. Consider the fact that games are loaded onto the RAM, games are pretty heavy and if you don’t have sufficient RAM then the device is going to take forever to be able to properly execute the game.
8 GB is well suited for people who are going to work on cloud-based software, light users who don’t need to have dozens of tabs open at a time, and just want a laptop where they can stream music, watch movies, have a few calls and a little bit more. If you’re looking to demand more from you’re laptop then you’ll be better off upgrading to 16 GB of RAM.
These are some frequently asked questions about RAM.
What is the disadvantage of RAM?
The biggest disadvantage of RAM is that you have to change it over time. The RAM tires out over time and you need to replace it with a better one or upgrade the RAM with a second module if the device allows for that. Some notebooks come with the RAM soldered onto the motherboard and no additional slots so you won’t be able to perform any upgrades.
Where is the data stored in a computer?
Data is stored in a computer either in the main memory or the secondary memory. When a task is being performed on the computer, data is stored in the main memory (RAM) temporarily. On the other hand, when the computer is not performing any task, the data is kept in the secondary storage devices (HDD and SSD). If you want to know more about the secondary storage devices: HDD and SSD, then you can check out our blog on HDD vs SSD.
What is the main function of RAM?
The main function of RAM is to keep the data more accessible and to make the retrieval of data faster. It stores data until it is processed and stored permanently on HDD or ROM.
Will a computer Run without RAM?
No, it is not possible to run a computer and complete tasks without RAM. You can not even open an application without RAM. You may be able to turn on your computer but since the very basic functions of the operating system are also housed on the RAM you won’t be able to do anything.
What happens when the RAM fails?
When your RAM fails, the app or program that you have opened will crash and your computer may also crash. No matter how many times you open an app it will continue to crash with a failed RAM.
All in all, RAM is used to store data that is being processed. It is used to store data temporarily. The data of RAM is lost when the computer is shut down or somehow the power is lost.
I hope that you liked this blog, if you have any questions then do ask them in the comments.
Mustafa Al Mahmud is the founder and owner of Gizmo Concept, a leading technology news and review site. With over 10 years of experience in the tech industry, Mustafa started Gizmo Concept in 2017 to provide honest, in-depth analysis and insights on the latest gadgets, apps, and tech trends.
A self-proclaimed “tech geek,” Mustafa first developed a passion for technology as a computer science student at the Hi-Tech Institute of Engineering & Technology. After graduation, he worked at several top tech firms leading product development teams and honing his skills as both an engineer and innovator. However, he always dreamed of having his own platform to share his perspectives on the tech world.
With the launch of Gizmo Concept, Mustafa has built an engaged community of tech enthusiasts who look to the site for trusted, informed takes on everything from smartphones to smart homes. Under his leadership, Gizmo Concept has become a top destination for tech reviews, news, and expert commentary.
Outside of running Gizmo Concept, Mustafa is an avid traveler who enjoys experiencing new cultures and tech scenes worldwide. He also serves as a tech advisor and angel investor for several startups. Mustafa holds a B.S. in Computer Science from HIET.