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Computers 101 - What is RAM?

Updated on March 19, 2012

If you are a computer newbie, you have probably heard of the term RAM, which stands for Random Access Memory. However, knowing what it stands for probably does not mean a whole lot to you at first glance.

This is where I come in. My name is Rachelle, and I have created this Computer 101 series to help you make sense out of basic computer terminology.

This hub is designed to help you learn about Random Access Memory (RAM) in a very basic sense.

First, I will give you the technical definition of RAM, and then I will break it down in plain English.

According to Webopedia.com:

Random Access Memory a type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly; that is, any byte of memory can be accessed without touching the preceding bytes. It is the most common type of memory found in computers and other devices, such as printers.

Yeah, I know... What? It can be a bit confusing so let's talk about RAM in simple terms.

Random Access Memory
Random Access Memory

RAM in Plain English for Computer Newbies

Random Access Memory is a part of all computers. It is part of the computer's memory. Computers have many different types of memory, such as video memory, direct memory access channels, hard drives, and Read Only Memory (ROM).

RAM is the type of memory that we also refer to as Flash memory, because when you tun off your computer and cut the electricity, RAM is completely gone.

When the computer is powered on, Flash memory is extremely fast.

The reason why RAM is so fast is because it is static memory and it does not have any moving parts.

When it comes to computers in general, memory refers to the physical devices used for storage of programs, or data. However, Random Access Memory is not used for long term storage,instead it is used to help memory operate faster on your computer. That is really all that the average computer user needs to know about RAM.

If you would like to learn about computers without all of the tech talk, check out more of my free Computer 101 series of hubs

If you are planing to pursue A+ Certification, or you have some other need for a more technical definition of Random Access Memory, check out Professor Messer's Free A+ Training video (below) which explains the entire topic of computer memory in detailed technical terms.

Professor Messor's - Types of Memory Video

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