What is the purpose of RAM?


Quick Answer

RAM is used for storing loaded programs and the data programs use. It stands for "random access memory" and constitutes the working memory of a computer.

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What is the purpose of RAM?
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Full Answer

RAMs main advantage is its speed. Information can be loaded to it quickly, and processors, which have only minimal storage capacity, can operate on it quickly. A program's start-up time is generally the result of this transfer. When a program is run, calculations are performed using information stored in RAM, and RAM is used to store information input by a user. While a user edits a document, for example, its text and formatting information resides in RAM.

However, RAM is generally not used for long-term storage. Part of this is because the cost of RAM is much higher than the cost of typical disk drives. RAM also requires a constant flow of electricity, and the information it holds is lost if power is disconnected.

In some situations, however, administrators might set up a "RAM disk," which uses banks of RAM as a long-term storage solution. Databases run much faster if information is stored in RAM, and information that's accessed frequently takes priority. To ensure data integrity, these devices are often connected to a battery in the event of power loss.

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