How Is Text Stored in Computer Memory?

Csaba Bajko photography. Szentendre / Hungary/Moment/Getty Images

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, a computer’s memory module temporarily stores text, and any other type of data, as blocks of binary digits. Every text character is assigned a group of binary bits called bytes. These are then sequentially stored to create a text file. Memory modules then transfer the saved text file onto the hard drive for permanent storage.

A computer’s RAM is made of capacitors and transistors that are dynamically switched on and off by a memory controller to temporarily store data, and it loses all data it temporarily holds every time the computer is switched off. The circuit board that holds a RAM’s components together is shaped like a stick of gum and fits into slots on a motherboard called memory banks.

In principle, the main function of a RAM is to assist a computer’s processor in speeding up calculations. The processor loads files and programs it needs to regularly access into the RAM to avoid data congestion which slows down operation and performance. Due to RAM’s architectural structure, processors pull data in RAMs a lot faster than it could from a computer system’s hard drive.

RAM capacity is expressed in bytes. As of 2014, a typical modern computer system has 2 gigabytes or 1,073,741,824 bytes of RAM.