Wednesday, March 11, 2009
As both SRAM and DRAM are volatile, other forms of computer storage, such as disks and magnetic types, have been used as persistent storage in traditional computers. Many newer products instead rely on flash memory to maintain data when not in use, such as PDAs or small music players. Certain personal computers, such as many rugged computers and netbooks, have also replaced magnetic disks with flash drives. With flash memory, only the NOR type is capable of true random access, allowing direct code execution, and is therefore often used instead of ROM; the lower cost NAND type is commonly used for bulk storage in memory card and solid-state drives.
Random Access Memory (RAM) provides space for your computer to read and write data to be accessed by the CPU (central processing unit). When people refer to a computer's memory, they usually mean its RAM.
If you add more RAM to your computer, you reduce the number of times your CPU must read data from your hard disk. This usually allows your computer to work considerably faster, as RAM is many times faster than a hard disk.
RAM is volatile, so data stored in RAM stays there only as long as your computer is running. As soon as you turn the computer off, the data stored in RAM disappears.
Note: On a PC, different parts of RAM may be more or less easily accessible to programs. For example, cache RAM is made up of very high-speed RAM chips which sit between the CPU and main RAM, storing (i.e., caching) memory accesses by the CPU. Cache RAM helps to alleviate the gap between the speed of a CPU's megahertz rating and the ability of RAM to respond and deliver data. It reduces how often the CPU must wait for data from main memory.