What are the different types of RAM memory?

by PaulGoodman67

I answer the question: what are the different types of RAM memory, and include information on: SRAM, DRAM, Volatile Memory, Writeable ROM, and RAM memory modules.

RAM stands for random-access memory and is a type of computer data storage which has been around on the market in various forms since 1951. Nowadays RAM memory often comes in the form of integrated circuits.

Pretty much all modern personal computers and laptops use RAM memory modules which can be slotted easily into the computer as computer data storage.

This article aims to look at and explain to the reader the commonest types of RAM found today, and in the process answer the question: What are the different types of RAM memory?

SRAM and DRAM

The two main types of RAM that you are likely to encounter in the modern world are known as SRAM, which stands for ‘static RAM’ and DRAM, which stands for ‘dynamic RAM’.

SRAM is more expensive to produce than DRAM, which means that in practice it is less common. SRAM works by using the state of a flip-flop to store a bit of data. In general, it needs less power and is quicker than DRAM and is most commonly used as cache memory for a CPU.

DRAM works on a different principle and stores a bit of data using a transistor and capacitor pair, which make up memory cell, with the capacitor holding either a high or low charge and the transistor behaving as a switch. DRAM is slower than SRAM, but because of its relatively low price, it is used more often in computers.

Volatile Memory and Writeable ROM

Both types of RAM memory mentioned above (SRAM and DRAM) are ‘volatile’, which in computer terminology means that they lose their state, or are reset when the power supply is taken away.

This can be contrasted with ROM (‘Read-only memory’), where data is A DRAM memory module from an Acer Aspire laptopstored by selected transistors being permanently enabled or disabled, effectively making the stored memory unalterable, even if the power source is removed. 

In recent years, there has been an increase in writeable ROM variants which share properties of both ROM and RAM, in that you can update data easily, but the data is not lost when the power source is taken away. Flash memory, such as USB flash drives, and memory cards for cameras are examples of writeable ROM variants.

RAM Modules

Modern RAM modules were developed in the late 1980s in order to make it easier for people to upgrade and repair their computer’s memory.

The modern modules could easily be snapped into place without much time or effort and was a big improvement on earlier forms of computer memory, which were difficult to work with in terms of upgrades and repairs and also took up a lot of space.

Modules are distinguished from each other by a number of characteristics which include: voltage, speed, form factor, and capacity.

Updated: 02/12/2013, PaulGoodman67
 
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