What Is RAM? What Does It Do for My Computer?

Computers can be a big investment, so building or purchasing a computer we spend a great amount of time researching. And it is right to do so. Computers can be your workspace, entertainment, and so much more. It is a place where you can spend a lot of your time. So, you want to find the best features and components to suit your needs and budget. RAM is one of those.

When researching computer parts, many people consider RAM as one of the most important parts. Generally, the more you have the greater the computer’s efficiency. But what does RAM do on your computer? And why is it important? In this article, I will address these questions and much more.

What Is RAM?

RAM, stands for Random Access Memory. It is basically the workspace for the computer. All the data you actively use is copied and stored here temporarily to give you quicker access.

Let’s take an example. When you open an Excel sheet or a PowerPoint, the operating system copies the information to the RAM. The data is temporarily stored here, and the system responds fast as you work on it. If you simultaneously open other applications, it also gets copied to the RAM. Hence, the RAM is like a desk where you can spread your files, notes, and other necessities. The larger your desk, the more information you can lay out, and the more convenient it will be to access information.

RAM is your computer’s short-term memory, and the data stored on it is temporary. RAM only allows you to work on the data but it does not save it. So, if you power off the computer in the middle of the work, you will lose the data. This is why you have to save it to a hard disk, where it will be stored permanently. These are commonly referred to as hard drives or SSDs.

RAM installed on motherboard

Different Types of RAM

There are two primary types of RAM: static RAM or SRAM and dynamic RAM or DRAM. Static RAM can store data for a long time, and it doesn’t need to be refreshed. It retains data as long as you supply power. Dynamic RAM, on the other hand, has a short data life and needs to be refreshed continually.

DRAM is the type used in computers as RAM. It is smaller, less expensive, and consumes less space.

Why Is RAM So Important

RAM helps you perform all the primary tasks such as opening and operating applications, browsing, playing games, etc. More RAM helps you toggle faster between multiple apps. If your system doesn’t have enough RAM, some of the apps will become slow or even unresponsive. Although RAM may be an expensive component to your PC, it will be worth it especially if you are a multi-tasker.

PC RAM on top of desk

How Does It Affect My Computer?

RAM affects the most basic functions on your computer. The smooth functioning of the entire system depends on whether you have sufficient memory. Below, we will see some of the advantages of having a higher RAM in your computer.

Increases Speed

When you don’t have enough RAM, using too many applications can exceed its total available space. In such a case, the operating system moves some of the apps to the hard drive. Now when you open those apps, it will take time for your computer to retrieve the info from the ROM. This process is time-consuming and slows down your computer performance.

Almost every software on your computer requires a minimum amount of memory (RAM) to run smoothly. Having insufficient space will slow down the apps or even prevent them from running at all. If you are having difficulty running multiple apps, upgrading memory will speed up your device performance. By installing more, you can avoid the bottlenecking effect which a lot of computers lacking RAM may face.

close up picture of laptop RAM

Better Browsing Experience

Contrary to popular belief, upgrading memory does not increase internet speed. But it does help increase the browsing speed. When you load web pages, the data is transferred from the internet to your computer memory. Now, some web pages contain larger memory files, such as high-resolution graphics. If your memory is almost full, downloading large content can cause management conflicts within the system. Less RAM can mean slower loading of pages. Sufficient memory will help your computer to handle more open tabs.

Better Gaming

As I discussed earlier, RAM is temporary storage. When you launch a game, the data is temporarily copied to the RAM. More memory will help the game load faster, also giving it more room to operate. Again, some games require less memory, while others require a lot more. If you have too much RAM, upgrading it will not make a difference. This is an excess of RAM, but it will not harm your computer in any way. If anything, I recommend this as it will avoid any potential conflict. Wherever possible we do not want your PC to be bottlenecking.

Ram inside of computer

How Much Ram Do You Need

Generally, more RAM will allow your computer to work more efficiently while performing multiple tasks. But the amount you need depends on the nature of your work. If you are a light user, you don’t need a lot of RAM. A light user can be considered as someone who has a couple of browsing tabs or applications open. And conversely, if you are a heavy gamer or a multitasker, a smaller RAM size will slow down your system. RAM usually comes in 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB sticks. And yes, the larger you go the more expensive it gets.

Here is a little information to help you choose the right RAM size.

If you are looking only for the bare essentials like browsing, basic office 4GB should be sufficient for you. 4GB RAM is ideal for students and office workers working with basic applications.

Most PCs have 6GB or 8GB of RAM to cater to the heavier users. For more demanding tasks like light gaming, graphic designing, and programming, larger memory size is necessary for smooth operation. 6GB and 8GB Ram sizes tend to be the most popular for budget gaming and work PCs. I personally advise 8GB as the minimum size to aim for.

For heavy gaming, video editing, and running multiple programs, a RAM size of 16GB or more is recommended. This will allow you ample room for gaming, multi-tasking, and large programs or software.

Final Thoughts

Overall RAM is an essential piece to every computer, it allows you to operate applications far more efficiently. Not having enough RAM can cause many problems on your PC, giving you unnecessary headaches. RAM greatly improves your ability to multi-task and overall PC functionality.