WHAT IS RAM ? How Does RAM Work?
BY: GURU (DAVE SMITH )
RAM is short for random-access memory, and it's the solid-state memory (chip
memory) in your computer.
Pretend your brain is a computer. Your brain has got long-term memory and
short-term memory. RAM is like your brain's short-term memory. Nothing stays in
short-term memory for very long.
If you're trying to do math problems with your brain, your short-term memory
(RAM) is calculating away, but it is pulling in bits of stored information, such as the
multiplication table, from your long-term memory to help.
Information is programmed into your long-term memory, just as computer
programs remain on your hard drive
After you finish the math problem, you'll probably forget exactly how you solved it. That information leaves
your short-term memory. You'll still know how to solve that kind of math problem, however, because that
information is programmed into your long-term memory, just as computer programs remain on your hard drive.
How RAM works
When you want to use a program, your operating system copies the program from the hard drive into RAM,
where the program is run. Your computer uses RAM as its work space and short-term storage area, because
RAM is much faster to work with than the hard drive. That's why adding more RAM to your computer will often
speed it up a great deal.
Most programs are too big to fit in RAM all at once. They use various schemes to load parts of the program into
RAM as needed, and then unload them when they don't need them. That's why your program continues to
access your hard disk even after it's loaded. Smaller programs will load entirely into RAM and never access
the disk again.
RAM is also used to store data that is currently being operated on. That data will stay in RAM until it is saved to
the hard disk, or until the computer is turned off -- in which case it is wiped out. Your word processing
program provides a good example. Changes you make to a Word document are stored in RAM. If you don't
save them to the hard drive before turning off the computer, they're lost.