is RAM and what does it do?
- Random Access Memory, or volatile memory, is used by the system
to store data for processing by a computer's central processing
unit (CPU), also known as the processor. RAM
stores the data in memory cells that are arranged in grids much
like the cells are arranged in a spreadsheet, from which data,
in the binary form of 1's and 0's, can be accessed and transferred
at random to the processor for processing by the system's software.
The data stored in a hard disk drive (HDD) cannot be accessed at random.
Whole sectors, containing blocks of data, are transferred from
a hard disk drive, placed in a large swap file on the same drive,
and only then are selected files transferred to RAM for random
access by the processor, which is itself only performing the instructions
of the system's operating system (usually Windows), and its application
Whenthe computer is turned off, all of the data in the RAM memory
is lost, hence its alternative name of volatile memory, whereas
all of the data on a hard disk drive is retained permanently until
it is intentionally erased. The
motherboard (or mainboard) manual (that should be
provided with a new or a second-hand PC) will provide all of the
details about the different types of supported RAM, and the various
combinations of modules per bank for each type that can be successfully
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