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How Computers Work - What is RAM?

Updated on January 27, 2013
What is RAM?
What is RAM?

What will I find in this hub?

This hub will give you a general overview and understanding of what RAM is. I will not go heavily into the actually technology side but I will help understand the term RAM and what RAM is used for in your computer or laptop.

What is RAM?

RAM, often referred to as memory, is a form of storage used while a computer is in operation. It Is a volatile form of memory meaning that when it is not supplied with power, all data is erased. So when you turn your computer or laptop off the programmes and data that was on the RAM is erased for the RAM to be re used the next time you turn it on.

What is RAM used for?

In a laptop/PC, RAM is used to store data from running applications and is also used by the operating system. For example, that photo you are editing the video you are playing or the song you are playing are stored in their entirety or partially in RAM memory to make efficient use of the processor. Accessing all data from the hard drive would result in a significant reduction in speed and efficiency of the operating system.

Do I need more RAM?

More often than not, people are fooled into a false sense of security to believe more RAM will make you computer faster. This is not the case. The speed of your system is mainly judged by your CPU/processor. For day to day tasks the RAM your system was supplied with is more than enough for most. However of you open several applications and your system suddenly grinds to a halt, it may be indicating you need more.

Windows users can check their RAM usage at any time by right clicking on the task bar (grey/blue bar) at the bottom of the screen, and selecting task manager. Under the task manager, select the performance tab. If your memory bar stays at the full level, then you can benefit from increasing your RAM.

Mac users can search ‘activity monitor’ in spotlight search. If the activity monitor notes very little/no free memory then you will also benefit from upgrading RAM.

How do I know what RAM to buy?

You can either seek advice from a professional at you local computer repair store, or alternatively the folks at Crucial memory provide a scanner which installs onto your system and gives you the options related to your computer system. You can find this tool at

How can I upgrade my RAM?

Well you can have a computer shop do it or you can do it yourself.

You can see my hub on How to upgrade your RAM which gives you detailed instructions on how to do it.


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    • daisydayz profile imageAUTHOR

      Chantele Cross-Jones 

      6 years ago from Cardiff

      Lol, you really didnt need to read that hub then. I'm not great with the technical stuff so my hubby has to teach me this kind of stuff. He wrote the hub to answer other peoples questions really!

    • M K Paul profile image

      M K Paul 

      6 years ago from India

      Ok..As a software engg, I learned it many years back ...

    • daisydayz profile imageAUTHOR

      Chantele Cross-Jones 

      6 years ago from Cardiff

      Thank you, it's a subject I know I myself have struggled to understand

    • M K Paul profile image

      M K Paul 

      6 years ago from India

      Nice hub for newcomer in computer


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