Clemson Computing & Information Technology

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Explanation of the term RAM
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RAM stands for 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 computerand39s memory, they usually mean its RAM. New computers typically come with at least 1 gigabyte GB of RAM installed, and can be upgraded to 4 gigabytes, sometimes more. 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. When you turn your computer on again, your computerand39s boot firmware called BIOS on a PC uses instructions stored semipermanently in ROM chips to read your operating system and related files from the disk and load them back into RAM. 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 highspeed 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 CPUand39s 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.