About RAM

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Posted in TechnologyComputers

Introduction: About RAM

RAM or random access memory, is a hardware component needed in every computer. RAM is a type of storage for a computer, it uses flash memory to hold important information about the OS or operating system. The RAM can be read faster than most other storage components like Hard Drives. RAM can communicate more efficiently to the CPU than other Hardware components. RAM is measured in bytes, in computers nowadays we usually have 4-8 Gigabytes of RAM. The RAM in newer computers, are known as DDR3 or DDR4. DDR meaning double data rate. DDR RAM connect to a motherboard via a DIMM slot. The more bytes of RAM you have the faster your computer can transmit data making your computer more efficient.

Step 1: Diagram of RAM

Board - This is the circuit board on which all the hardware components of RAM are soldered. It features a silicon-based semiconductor integrated circuitry providing connections between the memory components as well as interfacing with the computer to allow the processor and memory controller to access the RAM.

Clock - Unlike conventional (asynchronous) DRAM, SDRAM's memory operations are synchronized to a clock's signals, simplifying the control interface and eliminating the need for generating pseudo analog signals required in conventional DRAM. It also decreases manufacturing costs for the memory's components because faster memory could be made at the same cost.

Mode Register - This on-chip register's function is the configuration of the basic device operation. It controls the CAS (column address strobe) latency, burst length and burst type, and is usually set up while the computer is first powering up.

Memory Bank - This is the section with the actual memory modules--cells--that store data. In SDRAM, there are always two or more banks, allowing one bank to be available for access while the other is being pre-charged. This eliminates the latency caused by precharging a single bank, which results in increased transfer rates. It also reduces the granularity of each bank, resulting in higher performances at lower costs for 16MB and higher memory densities.

SPD chips - SPD stands for serial presence detect. SDRAM features an on-board SPD chip that contains information about the memory type, size, speed and access time. This chip lets the computer access this information at start-up while it goes through its power-on test cycle.

Burst counter - The burst counter is an on-chip counter that keeps track of column addresses to enable high speed burst access. It uses two burst types--sequential and interleaved-- and different burst lengths, and these parameters can be programmed using the mode register.

Step 2: Care and Proper Maintenance

Physical Care - When caring for RAM phyiscally make sure you do not damage anything on the stick IE the pins or the chips, simply place it in the DIMM slot with a small amount of pressure till you here a click. Try not to play with or mess around with the RAM or the DIMM slots, this will keep the RAM safe. Protecting the Mother Board from a high amount of electricity and drops will ensure security from RAM errors or other component errors.

Software Care - Some software applications you can use to ensure a healthy stick of RAM can be found online or pre added with windows. On windows you can use the "Memory Diagnostic Tool". On the internet you could use a program called MemTest86 which is a free application to test the health of RAM. These programs can also tell you what might be wrong with a certain stick of RAM.

Step 3: Trouble Shooting

RAM is a complex peace of hardware and a lot of things can happen that can cause problems for the computer, these include;

  • Power Surges - a power surge is exactly what is sounds like, an immense amount of power to the computer that causes failure of certain components of the computer. This can destroy RAM.
  • Age - At some point in time your RAM maybe out of date this won't necessarily stop your computer from working but it can cause it to be slow
  • DIMM slots - on the motherboard the physical DIMM slots may stop working because of an issue with one of the connectors
  • Physical RAM - a lot of things happen on a stick of RAM and if a single chip breaks the whole thing will not work, or if a single pin is damaged the RAM will not work

Here is a video me going through certain RAM issues: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GjFSXg0_gR3XaTu-8xu9LcoEwMup__Dfx1Z4QzGsQIw/edit?usp=sharing

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