Your computer stores data in two places: long-term storage (including hard drives and CD-R/RWs) and short-term memory. Storage devices, such as hard drives, maintain data even when theyre turned off; memory, on the other hand, holds onto its contents only when the the computer is on and functioning. RAM chips require power to maintain their content, which is why you must save your data onto disk before you turn the computer off. Turn off your computer, and the data in memory vanishes. Temporary memory is referred to as RAM, or random-access memory.
Every time you start your operating system, launch a program, or open a file, the relevant program code and/or data is loaded into RAM. Thats why you see RAM listed in the system requirements for the software you buy. If you have more RAM, you can open more files or programs at once and load bigger files or programs onto your system.
There are two basic types of RAM available today: SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM) and RDRAM (Rambus dynamic RAM). And there are three incompatible forms of SDRAM memory modules currently in widespread use. The form you can use depends on the RAM sockets installed on your
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