May 16 2007

Memory Explanation

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 1:05 am

OK, lets explain a few basics first. (Apologies to family and friends in Britain, you will have heard these analogies a few times before).

When it comes to computer memory, MANY people get very confused over exactly what it is, and how things work. (To the point that my father in law mentioned a CPU rated in Gigabytes last night!)

If you hear someone mention memory, the first thing you need to ascertain is whether they mean RAM or storage (normally a hard drive).
If they quote a figure of less than 4 Gb (Gigabytes) it is most probably RAM they are talking about. This is a bit like the memory in your head, except when you stop working for the day, you normally remember everything the next day. A PC, when completely shut down, will lost all the contents of its RAM. This is one reason why you should save your work quite frequently – if you have a power cut, any changes you made since last saving it will be lost.

If someone talks about memory, and specifies it’s size as something around 200Gb (all the way up to Tb (Terabyte-1024 Gb)), they are most likely talking about a hard drive. This is a bit like a pad of paper you carry around with you all day. When you go to sleep, even if you forgot what you did yesterday, if you check what was written down, you can refresh your own memory, and be at the same state as yesterday. (Hang overs non withstanding).

Now, if your PC is acting slowly, one of the reasons may be that it needs more memory (of the human brain kind). If you think about a computer having a strict limit as to how much information it can hold in its RAM at any one time, then you’ll realise that it can spend a lot of time simply writing things down on its pad of paper (hard drive) to make more room in its memory (RAM) for new information

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