What is RAM and What Does It Do?

Video – VLog #38

What does RAM stand for?

What does RAM actually do?

How much RAM do I need?

Script – VLog #38

Willie Nicol: Hello everybody, welcome to another fun filled and information packed episode of The Techno Dinosaur Meets the IT Geek. My name is Willie Nicol. I am the Techno Dinosaur and also a personal development life coach. I’m based in Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland. So, my partner in crime today is David. Hello David, how are you and where are you?

David Logan: Hi Willie. I’m good. Fun filled week. Don’t we have fun with computers. My name is David Logan, the IT Geek. The guy who takes the jargon out of technology for you, the Techno Dinosaur. So, I’m based here in Annan, south west of Scotland and we’re fast approaching Christmas, Willie. Are you expecting any gadgets for Christmas?

Willie Nicol: No, I’m not but I’m always keen to know about gadgets. So, my question today for you David, and we covered this in a previous vlog, but I believe you’re going to go into it in more depth today. What is RAM, random access memory, and how does it help us?

David Logan: Okay, great, Willie. First of all, you pinched part of my line – what does RAM stand for? You’re quite right though, random access memory. So, this is a short-term memory. Think of it in layman’s terms. It’s where, when you make notes, when you’re sitting at your desk and you make notes at your desk on a bit of paper, don’t you?

Willie Nicol: Okay

David Logan: And it’s easily accessible, fast to get to and it’s near to hand. Now if you do some filing, when you put it in the filing cabinet cause you don’t want to look at it in that short-term, so you put it away so that you can refer to it later. So, think on that like your hard drive as I was saying. Convenient terms, HDD, so that’s your RAM is short-term memory, and your HDD is your long-term memory, where it’s stored away out of arm’s reach. So that’s basically the difference between the two there. Every system has RAM – not just computers, not just these smart phones, looking at smart TV’s, anything that has to have a computer behind it. So even your hole in the walls, they’ve got a computer behind them as well. Your Raspberry Pi, it’ll have a small memory. So, it’s all there…

Willie Nicol: Raspberry Pi?

David Logan: Yes, have you never heard of that? Raspberry Pi?

Willie Nicol: No.

David Logan: Okay, right, that’s a good one. That’s a good project to get our teeth into. We might do that this Christmas and I may send you another Christmas present.

Willie Nicol: Very good. So what does … carry on

David Logan: So what’s the point of RAM is what we’ve just discussed. But as I’ve been working through Microsoft Windows computers in my life, I’ve noticed that this has had to increase and increase. So, currently my personal recommendation for an office computer running Windows 10, I recommend 8 gigabytes of RAM. That’s 8GB. Not GB for Great Britain, GB for gigabytes. Windows 7 was 4. Windows XP was 2. You see how it’s always increasing?

Willie Nicol: Does that mean that the more you do on your computer or your laptop, it’s better to have more RAM because, if you don’t, it’ll be slow?

David Logan: Correct. So, if you think about your internet browser, whether it’s Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox… or… Google Chrome I’ve mentioned already or Internet Explorer that needs to be there. You’ve got different tabs that you can open so you might have one for your stocks, one for your gardening tips, one for your cooking tips, one for your … watch, what videos you like watching – The Techno Dinosaur Meets the IT Geek. All these tabs you have open are all stored in RAM. And that’s why it’s quick to open up again ‘cause it’s stored in RAM.

David Logan: Ever notice when you fire up your computer and you say right, I want to work on Excel, you double click on the document and it takes ages to load initially? The second time you’ve got to load it up it’s quicker.

David Logan: So, that’s the difference between RAM, that’s what RAM can do. It can load programs, once they’re loaded in, it’s quick access. And as I said there, memory, yes, RAM, you can increase, unlimited. But when you’ve got 32-bit systems, just like Windows 7 predominantly. Windows 7 was 32-bit, you’ve got to use 3.5GB of RAM. So, there’s no point in trying to put in 8GB into a Windows 32-bit system. But Windows 10 is 64-bit, so the world is your oyster.

Willie Nicol: Okay. So, in a nutshell, the more RAM you have the better ‘cause it’ll make everything work quicker?

David Logan: Yes.

Willie Nicol: Fantastic.

David Logan: Keeping it simple. Short and simple and that’s us. Any other questions?

Willie Nicol: No, that’s very useful. I’ve got that in my head now. I think that I’m running 8GB on this old computer I’ve got so that should be fine. I hope that has been of some use to the viewer and explains RAM, what it is and how it’s different from hard drive. So, thank you David. All that remains for me to say, to the viewer – Keep safe, be well and have some fun. Until the next time, it’s goodbye from me, Willie Nicol, the Techno Dinosaur.

David Logan: Thank you Willie for that, thank you for the question.

David Logan: To the viewer, please, please subscribe. We need more YouTube subscribers. We’re on twitter, we’re on LinkedIn, we’re on Facebook, check us out, add any comments. If you want to fire a question to us, send it to us down here on the comments or up here, private message.

David Logan: Last thing, as Willie says – Stay safe, be healthy and enjoy yourself. Have a great week everybody.  

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