Everything you need to know about RAM

👤 Diwas Poudel    🕒 13 May 2022    📁 TECH

Nearly every electronics device which does the processing of input given by us like smartphones, computers, laptops, tab, the calculator needs RAM for temporarily holding the data related to currently running programs and services.

What is RAM?

RAM (Random Access Memory) is a volatile memory, which means that data is stored in RAM while the computer is running. RAM loses data when the computer is turned off. When we restart the computer, the operating system and other files are loaded from the HDD or SDD into RAM, and we can see the stored disk content on the screen.

Location of RAM in Computer


fig. Location of RAM in Motherboard

Looking at the logical flow of Data, we can say RAM is present in between your HDD and your Processor. But physically there will be many components in between like North Bridge and many more which we will discuss in the next topic and is beyond the scope of this topic.

What Happen if no RAM?

Even if you consider it the fastest hard disk drive available, the CPU cannot retrieve data directly from hard disk drives because they are too slow for it. Assume you have a SATA II interface HDD with a transfer rate of 300 MB/s. A CPU running at 2 GHz with 64-bit internal data paths will transfer data at 16 GB/s – more than 30 times faster than a SATA II interface HDD.

So, if there is data transfer directly between CPU and HDD then you as a user feel boring using the computer because communication between CPU and HDD is very slow. So,to solve this RAM is introduced, which does direct communication with the CPU and you are able to use the computer fluently.

Generally,if you do not have RAM we can say our system will not start

Coordination between RAM and CPU

The overall performance of your computer is determined by how well your  CPU and RAM coordinate each other. The more RAM your CPU has access to, the easier for it to do its work, which makes your computer faster. If you do not have a sufficient amount of RAM then your CPU has to work much much harder to transfer data and will hang the system and hence degrading the overall performance of the system.

How do know fault in RAM?

When you start your PC then it will beep 3 times (in most PC) if you have a fault in your system. Actually, this beep is generated by BIOS in the form of sound.

Actually what happens is if you have no RAM, then when you start your PC then BIOS POST(Power ON Self Test) will first search for all connected devices' information. If RAM is missing or has a fault then BIOS generates an error in the form of a beep sound or sometimes error will display on the screen(varies from system to system).

Some of the popular RAM manufacturers are Gateway, Acer, Dell, ASUS, AT&T, Nokia, Samsung, Motorola etc.

RAM comes with varies in Shapes, Speed, capacities many more.

Today's normal PC RAM ranges from 4 GB  to 16 GB.

For the cell phone, generally 1 GB to 4 GB.

Also Read: Can we use Different RAM frequencies?

How does RAM access Randomly?

In RAM, we can access any memory address directly. Suppose our RAM is of 3-bit memory, so say its memory location is at 000, 001, 010, 011, 100, 101, 110, 111. Then to access memory address 100, we should not have to look serially from 000,001,010, 011, then 100. Ok, we got memory address in the 5th scan. 

RAM is organized and controlled in a way that enables data to be stored and retrieved directly to specific locations that are. 100.

Recall those old PCs used cassette tapes as memory: Tape-based memory is serial: If you want a byte of memory in the middle of the tape, you have to start at one end of the tape and spool through to the location you want. That was slow and boring right.

Also Read: Does Windows 11 use more RAM than Windows 10?

Data Transfer Rate of RAM

We have heard about 32 bit(4 bytes) or 64 bit(8 bytes) datapath in RAM, what does it mean?

Actually, it is the transfer rate of RAM, which means RAM can transfer 64 bits of data at a time in one clock cycle.

Also Read: Parts of Motherboard and its Function Explained

Types of RAM 

Fig: Types of RAM

SRAM (Static RAM)

It is made up of 4 to 6 transistors. It keeps data in the memory as long as power is supplied to the system unlike DRAM, which has to be refreshed periodically. As such, SRAM is faster but also more expensive, so mainly used for the processor's cache memory.

DRAM (Dynamic RAM)

Each DRAM memory cell is made up of a transistor and a capacitor within an integrated circuit, and a data bit is stored in the capacitor. Since transistors always leak a small amount, the capacitors will slowly discharge, causing information stored in them to drain; hence, DRAM has to be refreshed every few milliseconds to retain data.

fig. Showing 1 bit stored in DRAM

Actually, DRAM operates asynchronously with a system clock, it means that this RAM runs slower than the system clock because this RAM signal will not coordinate with the system clock. It is not much faster and more expensive than SRAM. It is used in Computer's Main Memory.

Why Dynamic?

Because here we use a capacitor which discharges time and again so that capacitor has to be dynamically recharged with electricity constantly.

Synchronous DRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random access memory.)

It runs synchronously with a system clock. Here all signals are tied to the system clock for better-controlled timing. SDRAM also has a capacitor as DRAM but SDRAM is much faster than DRAM. One of the major disadvantages of using SDRAM is that it works in Single Data Rate which allows it to carry out only a single task per clock cycle. So SD DDR is developed. It is those type of RAM which is used nowadays on the Computer.

Rambus DRAM

 It was popular in the early 2000s and was mainly used for video game devices and graphics cards, with transfer, speeds up to 1 GHz.

RDRAM was a particularly expensive alternative to DDR SDRAM.

DDR SDRAM (Double Data Rate SDRAM)

It is a type of synchronous memory that nearly doubles the bandwidth of a single data rate (SDR) SDRAM running at the same clock frequency which allows the transfer of data on both the rising and falling edges of the clock signal without any increase in clock frequency.

DDR 2 SDRAM (Double Data Rate Second Generation SDRAM)

Its performance is better than DDR as its input/output buffer frequency is doubled.

This technology was released in 2007

DDR3 SDRAM (Double Data Rate Second Generation SDRAM)

It is an Improved version of DDR2.

It also doubles the speed of DDR2, again with lesser power consumption.

This technology began to appear in late 2007.

DDR4 SDRAM (Double Data Rate Fourth Generation SDRAM)

The greatest advances in DDR4 RAM are higher module density and lower voltage requirements, coupled with higher data rate transfer speeds than previous DDR RAM.

This technology began to appear in 2014.


DDR5 SDRAM was released on July 14, 2020. It has extremely fast transfer rates ranging from 4,800MHz to 8,400MHz in MT/s.
DDR5 memory has a maximum speed of 51.2GB/s per module

Fig: Types of DDR RAM
Below table data is from Wikipedia:
Bus clock
Internal memory clock
(min burst)
Transfer rate
Voltage (V) DIMM
DDR1 2000 100–200 100–200 2n 200–400 2.5/2.6 184 200
DDR2 2003 200–533.33 100–266.67 4n 400–1066.67 1.8 240 200
DDR3 2007 400–1066.67 100–266.67 8n 800–2133.33 1.5/1.35 240 204
DDR4 2014 800–1600 200-400 8n 1600–3200 1.2/1.05 288 256
DDR5 14 July 2020 2400–3600 MHz the internal clock runs at half the speed of the data bus (ie. 1200-1800) 16n 4,800MHz  to 8,400MHz  1.1 V nominal 288 262


Is DRAM still in Use?

Nearly every computer on the planet makes use of DRAM, which is short for Dynamic Random Access Memory. It is the most often utilized memory type in computers because of its high performance and inexpensive cost.