RAM – Random Access Memory – is one of the most important parts of your PC. Without RAM, your PC wouldn’t work. And when you don’t have enough RAM, your PC is slow.
There are a lot of misconceptions about RAM. Because even the most novice PC user has asked the question, “How do I speed up my PC?” to hear the answer “Add more RAM!”. But is adding RAM always the answer? And how much should you pay for a RAM upgrade? Keep reading!
What’s the difference between RAM and other storage space on my PC?
RAM is a type of memory. Your hard drive and other storage devices also have memory. So what’s the difference between these memory storage units? Well, RAM is designed to operate far faster than hard drives and other storage devices. To do that, RAM’s storage space is erased when it no longer receives electrical power – like when you turn off your computer. It’s easier to write on a blank storage space than a full storage space, and RAM also has a higher frequency than hard disk storage. If you were to rely solely on your hard disk for memory, your computer would be very slow.
Does RAM clock speed matter? Should I pay more for RAM with a higher clock speed?
When shopping for RAM, you’ll notice that some RAM is better than others. Specifically, some RAM is sold with a higher clock speed. This RAM is more expensive. RAM clock speed is not as important today as it was a few years ago, and today, RAM clock speed depends heavily on the CPU controller’s clock, which multiplies your RAM speed. The only time this really matters is if you’re overclocking your PC. Otherwise, your mid-range RAM clock speeds are perfectly fine for gaming and day-to-day PC use.
Why does more RAM = faster PC?
Your computer constantly relies on RAM in order to store temporary files that need to be processed by your CPU. Your computer may need to process billions of bytes per data, but your RAM only has room for half of that data. That means your computer will slow down. By adding more RAM, you can improve the speed at which data is funneled through the RAM to your CPU. This allows you to complete more operations and effectively increase the speed of your PC.
What’s the best way to compare RAM?
If you’re trying to decide between two different types of RAM, then there are a number of important qualities to look for. Since we’ve already ruled out clock speed as a good point of comparison between sticks of RAM, here are some other things to pay attention to:
-The manufacturer. Always buy RAM from qualified manufacturers with a good reputation. There are hundreds of cheap RAM manufacturers out there but their sticks tend to fail within months of installation. This is particularly important if you’re overclocking, but even the average PC user will appreciate the extra durability.
-Reading customer reviews
-Size per stick
Can I mix RAM sticks from different manufacturers?
Yes, you can – as long as they’re the same type of RAM. You can’t mix DDR2 and DDR3, for example, but you can mix RAM from Kingston and RAM from Corsair. Keep in mind that some manufacturers will blatantly lie to you and tell you that you can’t mix and match, but they just do that so you’ll buy more of their own RAM.
How do I check how much RAM I have?
Go to your Start menu and type in dxdiag then press Enter. You can all sorts of valuable information about your computer, and your total amount of memory in megabytes is found at the bottom of the System tab on the DirectX Diagnostic Tool. As you can see in this picture, I have 12,288MB of RAM, which works out to 12.288GB.
Can my computer run out of memory?
Hard drives fill up over time as you fill them with more information. However, unlike hard drives, RAM clears all data when powered off. That means you can’t run out of memory space, although you can fill up your memory while running your PC if there are too many programs running at the same time.
What is video memory or VRAM?
Video memory (VRAM) is used by your computer to process visual information. VRAM can be found on video cards and today’s best video cards have anywhere from 2GB to 4GB of video memory. The more VRAM you have, the better your PC graphics will be.
What is virtual memory?
Virtual memory, not to be confused with video memory, is memory that is stored on your hard drive. Basically, Windows automatically sets aside a portion of your hard drive to be used as RAM when your actual RAM fills up. Hard drive memory is not nearly as fast as real RAM, which is why your virtual memory is used only when absolutely needed.