RAM (Random Access Memory) is vital for running every computer. The higher it is, the faster the computer runs and the better the multitasking is. But, there is a small catch. RAM doesn’t come in only one variant. There are multiple types of RAM, and each one has its own merits. So, we’ll explain how different types of RAM work in this article.
Different Types of RAM
There are several types of RAM used by computers these days. The majority of these types, RDRAM for instance, rarely come with a computer anymore, as their technology is very old and dates back all the way to the early 90s. DDR RAM and SDRAM are the newest types of RAM you can find, with the former being the fastest. VRAM is also a separate form of RAM used in most GPUs.
Before we talk about each of these types of RAM, one thing to note is that these are DRAMs. DRAMs work slightly slower than SRAM, which is their counterpart. DRAMs might be slower, but they offer vastly larger capacities than SRAMs do. That’s why the DRAM memory is used as the main memory in computers.
SRAM is still in use though, just not as main memory due to the small capacities and also because they have higher manufacturing costs. Manufacturers generally use SRAM for the CPU caches and hard drive buffer caches.
Now, let’s talk about the forms of main memory you can find in most computers.
SDRAM, also known as Synchronised DRAM is the oldest available and most basic RAM type used in computers. However, most computers don’t use this kind of RAM any more. It was made back during the 90s, and there have been other more improved RAM types since then. SDRAM sticks can only run as fast as 133 MHz.
You’ll only find these in computers older than the ones produced in 2002. We advise not going for computers which use this kind of RAM, as they can’t run 90% of the newest software at this point. The computers incredibly cheap, but also perform incredibly bad. If you want a cheap computer for something like office work or just regular use, we suggest going for laptops under Rs. 30000 or Best laptops under Rs. 40000.
2. DDR RAM
DDR RAM is the more improved variant of the traditional SDRAM. The DDR stands for “Double Data Rate”. This type of memory came out into the market back in 2001, when popular motherboards started adding support. DDR RAM works differently than SDRAM does.
Whereas the SDRAM has more clock rate, DDR RAM can transfer data twice every clock cycle. Hence, it has double the data rate. As of now, both graphic cards and the computer’s standard memory use DDR RAM. DDR RAM also has multiple variants, starting from DDR to DDR5. DDR5 is the newest and most powerful variant, with a significant improvement over its predecessor, the DDR4.
If you want to save some money, you can go for DDR3 RAM, which can get you through most everyday tasks and is perfect for an office laptop or desktop. The catch is that spare DDR3 RAM is hard to find, or expensive. So you might end up facing troubles later on. DDR5 RAM is the best you can find, but it’s only available on high-end computers. The best value for money would be the DDR4 RAM.
You’ll find plenty of spare DDR4 RAM if your current stick goes out, and most laptops or computers are usually relatively powerful if they use DDR4 RAM. Laptops can benefit from the DDR4 RAM even more, as they’re more expensive than regular desktop computers.
One has to think carefully to get the right balance of power and price for themselves, and the DDR4 RAM cuts down on the cost quite a bit while providing a lot of power. The best DDR4 RAM would be one that offers an adequate capacity and also a bus speed beyond 1333 MHz.
VRAM is RAM specifically optimised for a computer’s GPU. The physical form is different as well; these RAM chips have two ports so that the computer can write the video data on the chip and the adapter can read the memory to refresh the monitor at the same time.
It’s usually more expensive than a standard memory stick, as higher VRAM is only available in some of the more advanced GPUs. However, the VRAM usability is situational and depends on what you need the laptop or desktop for. VRAM won’t increase overall performance, but it will still give a massive boost in graphics-intensive tasks like movie watching, video editing or gaming.
If you need a computer for document work or basic use like browsing or chatting, then the VRAM doesn’t matter, and you can get one with as little as 128 MBs of VRAM. Do note, though, that you might have to upgrade your RAM in the future if you have 4 GB or less as GPUs with such little VRAM tend to use up the main memory for more graphics-intensive tasks.
We suggest getting at least 2 GBs of VRAM, as that will give you enough money savings and provide you with ample graphics memory if you need it.
When you’re selecting your RAM, you’ll likely notice a large number followed in MHz. This number, which represents the frequency of the RAM, is essentially its speed. How does this RAM speed affect your system? What does it do? We’ll talk about all these questions in detail here, as the answer is fairly complicated.
First off, you need to understand that determining the RAM’s actual speed takes some effort, as it depends on various factors alongside the aforementioned frequency. Although, that does have a significant impact. You also need to consider the CAS latency and clock speed.
However, most manufacturers don’t tend to add in the fine details of every RAM stick they provide, so you won’t be able to get the values for the last two. But, the frequency is still enough to give you a rough idea of the speed.
Now, let’s get onto the big question. What does RAM speed do? Well, it helps your computer runs smoother overall and benefits you largely when you’re multitasking. For instance, you can get a significant performance improvement if you do rendering or streaming with faster RAM.
There isn’t much value in higher RAM speeds for gamers, though. There’s rarely any differences in performance when it comes to videogames, as the CPU and GPU handle most of the heavy tasks.
Although, if you are considering getting faster speed for gaming, then you might notice slight improvements in the more modern games. If you need to have a better gaming experience by upgrading RAM, we’d suggest upgrading the memory capacity rather than the speed.
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Different Types of RAM – Frequently asked questions
1. How much does the DDR version of RAM matter for a laptop?
In terms of actual performance, not much. However, the DDR technology benefits laptops more than desktop computers because of the decreased power consumption of each new DDR version. Hence, you might be able to run your laptop longer while it’s unplugged if you go for a higher DDR version.
2. Should I go for more RAM or faster RAM?
That depends, but more RAM is generally the better option. Whether you’re an average or a heavy user, you’ll benefit from having more RAM either way. Faster RAM has much fewer advantages, but you can enjoy the benefits of both if you don’t need to run incredibly heavy tasks on the computer.
If you’re an average user, you can opt for a very fast 8 GB RAM over a 16 GB one, as most tasks will only need about that much. For tasks like gaming, rendering or video editing, though, more RAM is always the best.
3. How much RAM do I need for good overall performance?
If you want to use your computer for regular everyday tasks with occasional heavy use, you don’t really need 16 GBs or 32 GBs of RAM. Most applications only need a maximum of 8 GBs of RAM, so you can opt for that capacity. Just make sure that you keep the laptop well-maintained, so unnecessary background programs don’t hog up the memory.
4. How much RAM is good for gaming?
If you want your computer to be able to play every kind of video games, then it’d be best if it had 16 GBs of RAM. Most good gaming laptops come with that much RAM, though some even have 32 GBs. Even if most of the games you play might not need so much RAM, newer ones are more demanding and having extra resources at hand can also help you do other things by the side.
You can also take up streaming later on if you feel like it, without the streaming software taking up memory and causing your game to lag.
5. What sort of RAM do I need for video editing?
You might need a lot of RAM for gaming, but video editing doesn’t need as much. You can get along just fine with 8 GB, but if you want to be absolutely sure that you don’t face problems, you can opt for 16 GBs of RAM.
6. Will I need a lot of RAM if I just use my computer for work purposes?
No, you won’t. If you’re getting a work computer for yourself, 4 GBs of RAM will be more than enough to provide you with decent performance along with enough potential for some entertainment on the side. If you’re buying laptops in bulk for an office, then you can pick 2 GBs of RAM as most office applications aren’t that heavy on resources.
7. How long does a RAM stick last?
Generally, a RAM stick in a well-maintained computer can last much beyond a decade. Unless there’s a problem with the motherboard, it can pretty much last indefinitely until you absolutely need to upgrade the RAM. That’s why most RAM manufacturers tend to provide lifetime warranties. If the RAM you’re getting doesn’t come with one, that might be an indication that the RAM isn’t of very good quality.
8. Can the RAM get damaged through heavy use?
A RAM stick doesn’t usually wear out continuously like something like an HDD does. It doesn’t get damaged by any software errors either, so you don’t have to worry about getting a new replacement too quickly.
The only reason your RAM would get damaged is if you had the computer running on high voltage. As long as it doesn’t happen, you can keep your RAM functioning properly by occasionally using a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol to clean it.
9. Can I use any type of RAM on a computer?
No, the motherboard of the computer only supports a specific kind of RAM. For instance, a motherboard that uses DDR2 RAM can’t support a DDR4 one. Likewise, a DDR4 RAM supporting motherboard can’t support a DDR3 one.
10. What are the best RAM brands?
If you need to buy a spare RAM, want to upgrade, or build a custom desktop, you should be aware of the best RAM brands in the market, especially since many brands are attempting to sell low-quality RAM to customers. For regular users, TwinMOS and Adata provide the best RAM. On the other hand, gamers are better off going for RAMs from Corsair, HyperX, Kingston or G.Skill.
A telltale way to know if a brand offers a reliable RAM stick is to check if it comes with a lifetime warranty. That’s because RAM generally doesn’t malfunction and so most manufacturers don’t mind offering the lifetime warranty. Hence, a brand that’s selling a faulty product won’t be able to offer that.
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That’s everything you need to know about the different types of RAM to pick the right one you need. There are several options when it comes to RAM, so this should clear some things up for you.
Many people tend to overlook the finer details of the RAM, opting just to gauge the quality by the capacity instead. In reality, you need to put more than that much thought into getting a good RAM as it will affect the experience you get with the rest of your computer.
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