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Understanding RAM

Posted on 1998-08-27
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Last Modified: 2010-04-14
I'm trying to understand the concept of RAM. I would like a definition of RAM, typical problems seen when not enough RAM (real basic please),a definition of VRAM,and how does this all relate to the amount of space I see available in my hard drive(I suspect there is no correlation),Is the RAM stored on my harddrive or does the computer just instantly see the chips? When getting info on an application program I see suggested size, minimum size and preferred size:both min and pref are changable by the user what does this all mean?
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Question by:roz
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TheHub earned 200 total points
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Download GURU (GUide to Ram Upgrades) from:
http://www.newertech.com/software/guru.html

RAM = Random Access Memory is used as temporary storage for applications (programs). In order for a program to run, it must first load into RAM. In order for the System to run, it too must load into RAM. The programs are then executed from RAM. The machine can read and write to RAM randomly (anywhere) as opposed to sequentially like with a tape (casstte tapes are a good example, you cannot hear the last song on a side of the tape without first listening the songs that come before it or fast forwarding to it).

Not enough RAM often manifests itself as frequent crashes and error messages (not enough RAM).

"Crash" is a generic term for one of many unwanted behaviors. More specific terms like Hang (cursor moves but keyboard and mouse clicks do nothing), Freeze (cursor does not move) and Bomb (error message with Bomb icon) should be used when talking to a tech about errors (because that's what the tech understands).

VRAM = Video Random Access Memory and is just like RAM except it is used by the video circuits of the computer. The more VRAM you have the more colors are possible on your monitor. If you have a 13" monitor and 2 megs of VRAM you get millions of colors max. If you have a 17" monitor and 2 megs of VRAM you get thousands of colors max. If you have a 13" monitor and 1 meg of VRAM you get thousands of colors. etc, etc, etc.

RAM and VRAM have nothing to do with the Hard Drive. The exception is Virtual Memory which uses part of the HD as RAM. There is no such scheme available for VRAM that I am aware of.

The size of an application can be changed by changing the Size Attributes in the Get Info Window. If you increase the Prefered Size, the Application will reserve more memory for itself in RAM.

RAM on the Mac live on cards called SIMMS (Single Inline Memory Modules), DIMMS (Dual Inline Memory Modules), etc. The RAM cards are plugged into sockets on the Motherboard (CPU). Depending on the model of Mac that you have, the RAM is automatically seen by the Mac the next time it is started (boot) without any configuration file modification like config.sys on wintel machines. Some models have a bit of RAM soldered onto the Motherboard in addition to providing RAM Sockets for expansion.

This trip should have been multiple trips.
definition: RAM
definition: VRAM
problems: RAM
correlate: VRAM to HD
where does RAM live
what: Size Attribute
You have asked, and I have answered, 6 seperate questions. The guidelines of this forum request that you limit yourself to one specific question at a time. I have answered you this time because you are new to Experts Exchange.

Have a good day and I hope this info helps.
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