RAM and its modules. The memory of the computer. If the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about RAM is; ‘Does it make a funny sound?’ then that’s the wrong type of ram that you’re thinking about, my friend.
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The RAM in computers is totally different because they’re the things that store data and acts as a device’s memory. Random Access Memory is the full name and this memory is one very important component.
Without it or without enough of it your device would not be able to survive at all, slowing down even crashing due to applications needing more and more memory.
For instance, if you’ve played a resource intense game and notice it’s been lagging for days and days!! The chances are that your device does not have enough RAM.
A Lack of memory is only one reason for a slow game. Other components that could affect your gaming could be the CPU, GPU or video memory, but we’ll just keep this post on RAM. Maybe I should discuss this in the next post, but right now… it’s RAM time baby!!
Let’s find out about them a little more shall we.
Since RAM is a component that is needed to help your PC become faster or act faster when using applications… it only makes sense that RAM itself would need to become even faster right? That’s why newer modules or newer generations of it are made.
Before we delve deeper let me just state that:
- DDR1, DDR2, DDR3 and DDR4 are the generations of RAM and definitely brings about better performance and higher speeds for your Computer/Laptop.
- The frequency term refers to the clock speed of RAM in MHz (Megahertz Per Second) which you’ve probably seen a couple of times thrown in together when looking at different modules. A higher frequency means faster RAM.
- MT/s (Mega Transfers Per Second) is the data rate and is similar to MHz, but gives you a more accurate interpretation of a modules speed. E.g. A DDR Module with a data rate of 400MT/s would give off a clock speed of 200MHz, but because of its Double Data rate it would be…Guess what? Twice the amount which gives you 400MHz.
- Desktop and Laptop RAM are two different things. That is why you can’t install Laptop RAM in your Desktop PC and vice versa. It will not work.
- The more RAM you have the better, but certain things might limit how much of it can be utilized. For example, Windows 32-Bit only allows a max of 4 gigs, while a 64-Bit version of Windows can use more than that. So, if you have 6 gigs of RAM on a 32- Bit version of windows it would only use 4 rendering the other 2 gigs useless.
- The Motherboard and CPU also has a limit to how much Memory they can support. So, make sure to check they’re both able to support the amount of RAM you’re looking for.
- The Prefetch Buffer is basically something that stores data before it is required. It is a memory cache in RAM and with its width increased in each generation it means better performance of the module itself. The higher the prefetch buffer the better.
- Lastly, Operating voltage or RAM Voltage is the amount of power a module consumes to…well, operate. Newer modules seem to be using less power because manufacturers are smarty pants.
DDR (Double Data Rate), is the first generation of DDR and is called that because of the fact that it can transfer data twice as fast as SDRAM. SDRAM is the predecessor of The DDR Modules that we know today.
DDR is two times faster than it being able to transfer twice as much data per cycle. This means that it uses less power and needs less effort to transfer data with each cycle.
Specifications of DDR:
- Keeps the internal clock while doubling the transfer rate when compared to SDRAM.
- Prefetch Buffer – 2 Bit
- Clock Speed – 133MHz to 200MHz
- Data Rate – 266MT/s to 400MT/s
- Voltage – 2.5V
- Transfer Rate – 2.1 to 3.2 Gigabytes per sec.
Second generation module and twice as fast as DDR.
Specs of DDR2:
- Prefetch Buffer – 4 Bit
- Clock Speed – 266MHz to 400MHz
- Data Rate – 533MT/s to 800MT/s (this is where DDR2 steps up its game.)
- Voltage – 1.8V
- Transfer Rate – 4.2 to 6.4 GB/s
Third generation module and twice as fast as DDR2. See the pattern? Which in theory makes it four times faster than DDR.
Specs of DDR3:
- Prefetch Buffer – 8 Bit
- Clock Speed – 533MHz to 800MHz
- Data Rate – 800MT/s,1066MT/s to 1600MT/s
- Voltage – 1.5V (Uses 40% less power than its predecessors.)
- Transfer Rate – 8.5 to 14.9 GB/s
Fourth Generation of the modules, twice as DDR3, four times faster than DDR2 so eight times faster than DDR.
Specs of DDR4:
- Prefetch Buffer – 8 Bit
- Clock Speed – 800MHz/1066MHz to 1600MHz
- Data Rate- 2133MT/s to 3200MT/s
- Voltage – 1.2V
- Transfer Rate – 17 to 21.3 GB/s
That right there is about the minimum amount of knowledge that you’d need for RAM modules, there is more info out there which delves even deeper into RAM tech, but I wanted to keep this a little bit simpler than that, so I made this post.
I hope it answered at least some of the questions on this topic that you, my dear friends have had.
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(EDITED BY @Aly.)