RAM is the acronym for ‘random access memory’ and is usually calculated in megabytes. A RAM chip is a module that holds freshly accessed information so that the central processing unit can have access to it. It is faster than reading from the hard drive and allows for easy access of recently stored data, information, and files. This means that all programs must be run through the RAM before they are usable.
There are two basic types of RAM, namely dynamic RAM and static RAM. A dynamic RAM is called so because it has to be constantly refreshed by the memory controller. The reason for refreshing is that the capacitors that hold the information or data have a built-in leak that can only be stopped by refreshing the information thousands of times in a second. This makes dynamic RAM slower and cumbersome compared to static RAM.
Static RAM is a type of random access memory that has a greater capacity for storage because it uses on-off switches instead of capacitors. However, static RAM is more expensive compared to dynamic RAM because it is faster and can hold more information.
Usually, advanced versions of the dynamic RAM are used instead of using static RAM because of its high price. These versions include FPM (fast page mode), ECC (error correcting code), EDO (extended data output), and SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM). ECC RAM is a special error-correcting RAM that is usually used in servers.
EDO RAM, or extended data output RAM, is an improvement of the traditional FPM RAM. Data can be read faster and the length of time that the output data is valid is extended, which improves time coordination between the central processing unit and RAM, thus improving the performance.
The speed of a RAM is measured in nanoseconds, and the fewer the nanoseconds (ns), the faster the computer. Today we use 50 ns computers as opposed to the 180 and 150 ns that we used in the last decade.