Updated: Aug 18, 2022
One of the most recent and game changing advancements in technology has been the release of DDR5 RAM. But what is RAM? And what does DDR mean? Does it come with a dance pad? Explore what this means for you as a user!
RAM stands for “Random Access Memory” (not to be confused with Daft Punk’s album with the same name). This is where your computer stores data that it needs quickly. It’s much faster than Solid State Drives (SSDs) or Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) due to how closely tied to the CPU it is and the quality of the material it is comprised of.
Your computer uses #RAM to store all the files you may need to get to quickly such as, OS data, applications you open, etc. You might be asking yourself “Then, why don’t we store all data on RAM?” That is because RAM is volatile; meaning as soon as power is cut from it, it forgets everything. All data is dropped, and you have a clean slate to start off with when you cycle power back through it. SSDs and HDDs are non-volatile, meaning they will not lose their data when powered off.
Think of your computer as a Kitchen. Your CPU is the chef, the RAM as the countertop, and the drawers below it are your storage.
I always use this analogy when I tell someone how ram works. Think of your computer as a Kitchen. Your CPU is the chef, the RAM as the countertop, and the drawers below it are your storage. When you cook, you bring out all your tools from the drawers and lay them on the countertop, so you have quick access to them when you need them. Just like that, the #CPU brings the data it needs out of the SSD/Hard Drive and places them in RAM for quick and easy access. When you are done cooking, you take all your tools and place them back in the drawers for future use and clean the countertop. The computer does the same with RAM.
So, what does DDR mean?
No, it doesn’t mean Dance Dance Revolution. It stands for “Double Data Rate”. RAM speed is measured in megatransfers (or million transfers) per second (MT/s). Each time the standard is raised, the speed of the RAM is doubled. For example:
What does this mean for you?
We are in the age of exponential growth in technology. But this also comes at a cost. New standards of RAM are always more expensive in the first year or two after they release. Not to mention, moving to new generations of RAM requires a new #motherboard and CPU, since each generation of RAM has a different pin contact layout.
One great thing, however, about a new generation of RAM coming out, is that prices will start to drop on the older generations AND the older generations don’t stop improving! Developers continually find new ways to speed up the older RAM so you can still get a speed increase from the older generations.
If you are buying a new computer, we always recommend getting one with the newest generation of RAM installed. That will future-proof you for the coming years, so that your computer will perform better until you are finally ready to upgrade to the next best hardware.
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