What is RAM?
What does RAM do?
RAM is installed on every laptop or desktop. This working memory ensures the temporary storage of programs that you now have open, as well as your operating system. That way, your PC can quickly switch between different tabs in your browser, for example. Internal memory is super fast and works together with your processor. That's why a computer with little RAM is often slower than a PC with a lot of internal memory.
What's the difference with a hard drive or SSD?
It's true that you store data on both RAM and your hard drive, but the way this happens is very different. You keep your data on your hard drive for the long term. Think of the programs on your computer, but also your photo collection. On your RAM, things are only stored for as long as it is relevant. The part in the RAM where your computer stores information from a game, for example, is emptied as soon as you close that game. All the information also disappears from the RAM when you shut down your PC.
Two different types of RAM
There are 2 different types of RAM available: DIMM and SODIMM. Simply put, DIMM is only suitable for desktops. A SODIMM provides RAM for your laptop, Macbook, or iMac. SODIMM is smaller, making this memory more suitable for compact devices.
What do DDR3 and DDR4 mean?
DDR3 and DDR4 are different standards for RAM. DDR stands for double data rate, which basically means double data speed. DDR3 is the third version of this RAM and was introduced in 2007. DDR4 had its premiere in 2014. Although DDR4 is the successor to DDR3, these 2 types of RAM are not compatible with each other. The connector is different, so you're stuck to the type of RAM that's currently installed on your computer.
What does the RAM's speed tell you?
With RAM, you'll sometimes see the term clock rate, often indicated in MHz. This clock speed says something about the number of switches per second that the RAM can make. A higher number means more switches and that means a higher speed. You can't just place the fastest internal memory in your laptop or desktop, though. The RAM must match your motherboard and the current speed of your memory.