What is RAM? How your computer’s memory keeps all your programs running smoothly

business professional working late on laptop
It’s important to understand how RAM affects your computer’s performance.

  • RAM, or Random Access Memory, is the part of your computer that keeps programs running in the background.
  • When your RAM is working properly, you’ll be able to switch between programs quickly and freely.
  • How much RAM your computer needs will depend on what you use it for.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

RAM, or Random Access Memory, isn’t just a cool Daft Punk album. It’s an important part of any computer, phones included. Without it, even switching browser tabs could take ages.

Here’s everything to know about what RAM is and how it works, what the different types of RAM are, and how much memory your computer needs.

What is RAM?

RAM is the part of your device that functions like its short-term memory. It keeps track of what programs are running in the background and what they’re doing, so when you focus on them again, they can get right back to work.

This goes for browser tabs, too. You can switch between browser tabs quickly because your computer’s memory keeps them ready to use.

The benefit of RAM is that it keeps your computer fast, and makes multitasking convenient. Because of RAM, your computer doesn’t have to lean on its slower hard drive to perform basic functions. Without it, we’d be living in a less instantaneous world.

computer ram sticks
An assortment of RAM sticks from various manufacturers.

But RAM, much like our own short-term memory, is limited. If you’re making it keep track of more things than it can handle, it’ll start to “forget” whatever it deems low priority. And if you don’t have enough of it, your computer can slow to a crawl.

When talking about RAM, there are a few different terms you should know.

Common RAM terminology

DDR

DDR stands for “double data rate,” and in essence, refers to how fast your RAM is. DDR4 is the most common type of RAM sold today, but older computer models may have DDR3 or DDR2.

The higher number the better, and because each successive generation of RAM has undergone design changes, you can’t switch out one for another.

crucial ballistix ram
These RAM sticks from crucial specifically say DDR4 on them.

VRAM

VRAM, or Video RAM, is another beast entirely. Rather than being part of your computer’s general memory, VRAM is an intermediary between the CPU and graphics card. Before you see an image on the screen, the data is read by the VRAM processor and converted from digital information to an analog image on the screen.

How much RAM do I need?

Most computers, tablets and phones have between 4GB and 32GB of RAM, although more advanced computers could have even more. On computers, 8GB to 16GB is standard. Some cheap tablets have around 2GB of RAM, which isn’t enough for your laptop.

8GB of RAM is more than enough to power a Windows or Mac computer, but won’t be able to handle too many intensive apps. 16GB RAM will handle advanced programs. 32GB of RAM and up is good for serious computer engineers, gamers, or audio and visual professionals.

Most modern phones have 8GB of RAM. And unlike computers, you can’t really upgrade the RAM in your phone.

The amount of RAM that you need depends on what you’re using your device for. Over-investing in RAM isn’t going to make your computer magically better or infinitely fast – even 100GB of RAM won’t mean anything if the rest of your computer is slow.

You can buy RAM in various combinations, or modules. For example, if you want to buy 16GB of RAM, you can get:

  • One 16 GB stick
  • Two 8 GB sticks
  • Four 4 GB sticks
Corsair Vengeance RAM
Two Corsair RAM sticks, from their “VENGEANCE” series.

The combination you get doesn’t matter. Just make sure it’s compatible with the rest of your computer, and fits in the case.

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Ram started production on the 1500 TRX, its blisteringly quick 702-horsepower answer to the Ford F-150 Raptor

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

  • Ram has started production on its 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, a ridiculously powerful off-road pickup that the company hopes will take on the Ford Raptor. 
  • The TRX sports a 6.2-liter, supercharged V8 that puts out a wholly unnecessary 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. 
  • According to Ram, it can hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, which is blisteringly quick for a hulking, gas-powered truck. 
  • The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX will start at $69,995, while the 702-unit launch edition is priced at $90,315. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

For years, Ram’s had the idea for a Ford Raptor-beating, desert-thrashing, high-performance pickup in the works – and now it’s finally arrived. 

After unveiling the truck in August, Ram on Thursday announced it’s started production on the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, a completely over-the-top truck with 702 horsepower, 650 pound-feet of torque, and a 0-to-60 time of 4.5 seconds.

You read that right – Ram says this massive pickup will sprint to 60 mph as quickly as some purpose-built sports cars. All that oomph comes from the 6.2-liter supercharged Dodge Hellcat engine Ram stuffed under the hood.

But make no mistake: Ram did a lot more than just Hellcat-ify a run-of-the-mill 1500 pickup. The company transformed the truck into a desert-ready beast by building a stronger frame, revamping its suspension, giving it a wider stance, and lifting it by two inches. 

Keep scrolling to learn more about the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

Ram started production on its long-awaited competitor to the Ford Raptor, which the company calls the “quickest, fastest, and most powerful mass-produced truck in the world.”

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

To build the truck – dubbed the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX – Ram took its 1500 pickup and crammed in a supercharged, 6.2-liter V8 that it says is good for 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

That combination sends the full-size pickup from 0 to 60 mph in a ludicrous 4.5 seconds, the company said.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

The TRX hits 100 mph in a frightening 10.5 seconds and smashes the quarter mile in just 12.9.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

The all-around-absurd truck also is capable of a top speed of 118 mph, Ram says.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

The TRX’s hood scoop is actually functional and accounts for roughly half the air fed to the truck’s monstrous engine.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

The Ram badge up front is also hollowed out to help with airflow.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

But the company didn’t just plop a 702-horsepower engine into the 1500 and call it a day. Ram gave the 1500 numerous upgrades to make it a better performer in harsh, off-road conditions.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

For starters, the TRX sits on a new frame made from high-strength steel …

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

… and is eight inches wider than the standard 1500.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

It rides on an overhauled suspension …

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

… that allows for 13 inches of wheel travel at all four corners, a 40% increase over other 1500 models.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

The TRX rides two inches higher than than 1500, giving it 11.8 inches of ground clearance.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

It can also ford up to 32 inches of water …

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

… and comes with knobby, 35-inch tires.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

Built for high-speed off-roading, the TRX sports a “Baja” mode that calibrates four-wheel-drive and steering systems, suspension, and stability control for “ultimate desert performance.”

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

Let’s face it, most TRX buyers – like most Raptor owners – are not going to tear across the desert at high speeds.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

But the TRX can be practical, too, offering a 1,310-pound payload capacity and 8,100-pound towing capacity.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

Inside, the TRX gets plenty of bells and whistles like a heads-up display, a 12-inch touchscreen, and a wireless charging dock.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

Plus, there’s an option for a leather and suede interior with carbon-fiber and red trim.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

The Ram 1500 TRX starts at $69,995, while the 702-unit launch edition comes in at $90,315.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

We’ll have to wait and see whether the TRX proves to be the Raptor-crushing “apex predator” Ram hopes it will be.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 TRX.

Read the original article on Business Insider