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MEMORY OR RAM

RAM (Random Access Memory) holds all of the "active" information that the computer is using. Memory is empty when your PC is switched off Then each program or data file used grab part of the system memory. When you close a program the memory grabbed by that program is freed up. Generally, the more memory your system has, the more things you can do with it simultaneously. Increasing the amount of memory in the system also improves performance in most cases. Even though it is a Computer hardware component, RAM is also like human memory. Imagine you are reading a book. When you start reading a book the content of the book remains in your memory. But it goes away when your attention goes to somewhere else.

-SRAM and DRAM are volatile. Other forms of computer storage, such as disks and magnetic tapes, have been used as persistent storage. Many newer products instead rely on flash memory to maintain data when not in use, such as PDAs or small music players. -Certain personal computers, such as many rugged computers and netbooks, have also replaced magnetic disks with flash drives. With flash memory, only the NOR type is capable of true random access, allowing direct code execution, and is therefore often used instead of ROM; the lower cost NAND type is commonly used for bulk storage in memory cards and solid-state drives -. A memory chip is an integrated circuit (IC) made of millions of transistors and capacitors. In the most common form of computer memory, dynamic random access memory (DRAM), a transistor and a capacitor are paired to create a memory cell, which represents a single bit of data. The capacitor holds the bit of information a 0 or a 1 . The transistor acts as a switch that lets the control circuitry on the memory chip read the capacitor or change its state.

Memory hierarchy Many computer systems have a memory hierarchy consisting of CPU registers, on-die SRAM caches, external caches, DRAM paging systems, and virtual memory or swap space on a hard drive. This entire pool of memory may be referred to as "RAM" by many developers, even though the various subsystems can have very different access times, violating the original concept behind the random access term in RAM. Even within a hierarchy level such as DRAM, the specific row, column, bank, rank channel, or interleave organization of the components make the access time variable, although not to the extent that rotating storage media or a tape is variable. The overall goal of using a memory hierarchy is to obtain the higher possible average access performance while minimizing the total cost of the entire memory system (generally, the memory hierarchy follows the access time with the fast CPU registers at the top and the slow hard drive at the bottom). In many modern personal computers, the RAM comes in an easily upgraded form of modules called memory modules or DRAM modules about the size of a few sticks of chewing gum. These can quickly be replaced should they become damaged or when changing needs demand more storage capacity. As suggested above, smalr amounts of RAM (mostly SRAM) are also integrated in the CPU and other Ics on the motherboar , as well as in hard-drives, CD-ROMs , and several other parts of the computer system. [. [.[2]

Shadow RAM -Sometimes, the contents of a relatively slow ROM chip are copied to read/write memory to allow for shorter access times. The ROM chip is then disabled while the initialized memory locations are switched in on the same block of addresses (often write-protected). This process, sometimes called shadowing, is fairly common in both computers and embedded systems -As a common example, the BIOS in typical personal computers often has an option called use shadow BIOS or similar. When enabled, functions relying on data from the BIOSs ROM will instead use DRAM locations (most can also toggle shadowing of video card ROM or other ROM sections). Depending on the system, this may not result in increased performance, and may cause incompatibilities. -For example, some hardware may be inaccessible to the operating system if shadow RAM is used. On some systems the benefit may be hypothetical because the BIOS is not used after booting in favor of direct hardware access. Free memory is reduced by the size of the shadowed ROMs

RAM disks Software can "partition" a portion of a computer's RAM, allowing it to act as a much faster hard drive that is called a RAM disk. A RAM disk loses the stored data when the computer is shut down, unless memory is arranged to have a standby battery source.

Modern types of writable RAM generally store a bit of data in either the state of a flip-flop, as in SRAM (static RAM), or as a charge in a capacitor (or transistor gate), as in DRAM (dynamic RAM), EPROM, EEPROM and Flash. Some types have circuitry to detect and/or correct random faults called memory errors in the stored data, using parity bits or error correction codes. RAM of the read-only type, ROM, instead uses a metal mask to permanently enable/disable selected transistors, instead of storing a charge in them. Of special consideration is SIMM and DIMM memory modules.

Other uses of the "RAM" term -Other physical devices with readwrite capability can have "RAM" in their names: for example, DVD-RAM. "Random access" is also the name of an indexing method: hence, disk storage is often called "random access" (Wiki:PowerOfPlainText, Fortran language features, MBASIC, Java Platform Standard Edition indexed file) because the reading head can move relatively quickly from one piece of data to another, and does not have to read all the data in between. -However the final "M" is crucial: "RAM" (provided there is no additional term as in "DVD-RAM") always refers to a solid-state device. Often, RAM is shorthand referring to the computer's main working memory

Swapping If a computer becomes low on RAM during intensive application cycles, many CPU architectures and operating systems are able to perform an operation known as "swapping". Swapping uses a paging file, an area on a hard drive temporarily used as additional working memory. Excessive use of this mechanism is called thrashing and is generally undesirable because it lowers overall system performance, mainly because hard drives are far slower than RAM. However, if a program attempts to allocate memory and fails, it may crash.