The Basics of Computer Memory
Computer memory is a crucial component of computer programs. Computer memory has the power to store large amounts of information, including programs and data. In the early 1970s, the demand for DRAM chips skyrocketed, sparking fierce competition. The Japanese Trade Ministry’s plan to make Japan the leader in this industry wiped out American memory suppliers. But it also spurred Korea to take over the lead, and the Japanese were soon overtaken.
A computer’s memory stores information that is currently being used. It also stores information in a fast-access location. For example, a user could update their resume file stored on their hard drive by telling their computer to access storage, locate the file, and copy the contents into memory. This is a process known as “paging through memory”.
The process of retrieving this information from computer memory is very similar to a model train system. An electric current flows through a chip and a capacitor holds the charge. This circuit then flows through the data line to the CPU. In this process, the computer memory is accessed at different addresses. Each address refers to a different byte. The address of the memory chip determines the speed of data access and retrieval. However, if one data byte is retrieved at a fast speed, this process is much faster.
As technology advanced, so did the number of computer memory types. The most common type of computer memory was the floppy disk. It was initially considered too large for desktop computers, but later became a popular option for notebooks. By the 1980s, more than ten manufacturers had developed this technology, making it possible for consumers to store data on their computers. It is a relatively inexpensive option that still retains a high degree of speed.
The first computer to utilize magnetic core memory was the MIT Whirlwind in 1950. The computer was able to store bits in tiny “donuts” of magnetic material, which are wires strung in a grid. The cores were magnetized one way for “zero” and the other for “one.” The wires then detected the bit state and stored it on the chip. This was the primary form of memory until the late 1960s.
There are two types of computer memory: volatile and non-volatile. Volatile memory is faster than non-volatile, but it will lose its data when the power is turned off. Computer systems often combine both types of memory to maximize speed and cost. You can customize the exact configuration of memory by comparing the performance of different systems. You may even be surprised by what you find. Just remember that computer memory is the most important component in your computer. So, be sure to read the specs on your computer memory before buying it.
Computer systems also use RAM as a buffer between the hard drive and the processor. Although it cannot hold nearly as much data as a standard hard drive, RAM is still more than enough. It’s a critical component of your computer, as it allows your computer to access data immediately without having to dig through the storage to retrieve it. But RAM is a volatile memory. When the system is powered off, the temporary data stored in RAM will disappear.