What is Computer RAM? Do you need more of it?

What is RAM and How it works?

RAM stands for random-access memory, but what does that mean? Your computer RAM is essentially short term memory where data is stored as the processor needs it.

This isn’t to be confused with long-term data that’s stored on your hard drive, which stays there even when your computer is turned off. Anytime you play a game from your computer’s hard drive or stream a movie from the Internet, all of the data that your computer’s processor needs to play the game or watch the movie is stored in RAM.

This is so that your processor can get to it quickly. Once you’re done playing your game or watching your movie and you close it down, the processor doesn’t need that data anymore, so it replaces it with the next task you give it. RAM can slow down your computer if there isn’t enough of it for the processor to perform the tasks you ask it to. If your processor wants to load more data than your computer RAM can handle, it has to keep going back to the hard drive or the Internet to obtain the information again. This is just like someone trying to pick up more tennis balls than they can carry; in the end, they spend more time picking up tennis balls than playing the game!

How Your Computer Processor (CPU) Works

The processor makes up a computer’s ability to think, much like the conscious parts of your brain. The faster you can answer math problems, read, and understand the words in a book, get the meaning of a joke, or accurately tell your body what to do while playing a sport, the more powerful your brain is.

Computer processors are the same way. The more powerful they are, the faster they can perform tasks with the data (games, movies, applications, etc.) that’s available on your hard drive and online. Your computer’s processor works with RAM to function as a team. RAM is like your short-term memory. If you were to bump your head and lose your short-term memory (your RAM), you wouldn’t be able to remember anything that happened more than a few seconds ago. However, you’d still be able to think perfectly well. But think about it—without any memory, you (and your processor) would have severe difficulties.

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