The memory of your computer, also referred to as RAM, is the short-term storage for the system – it only stores information whilst the PC is powered up. It is often confused with Hard Disk capacity, which is something separate. Consider your whole workspace and if you think of the Hard Drive as the “Filing Cabinet” which can hold many Gigabytes of data, then the RAM would be your actual Desktop space. The more RAM you have, the more desktop space to work with.
Modern RAM is measured in Gigabytes (GB)
Most modern computer systems should have at least 512MB with at least 1GB being the preferred for almost all home computer systems and the minimum requirement for Windows Vista & 7 . Common sizes for RAM are in multiples of 1GB and 2GB, with the computer I am writing this text on having 6GB, though larger sizes are possible and even necessary to run modern Photo & Video editing applications.
Memory is used to store any data and programs that the computer is currently working with, either in the ‘foreground’ (The program you are using at any given moment), or in the ‘background’ (other programs that might be running, but not currently in use. Virus checkers are a good example of a ‘background’ program). The more programs of either type you have running, the more memory is being used. If you run out of memory, your computer can slow down quite significantly as it struggles to shuffle things around. Some programs use more memory than others, such as video editing, music editing and photo editing, which all use large files.
There are a few different types of memory in use today. The more common, DDR allows for data to be sent and received at the same time, hence the name Double Data Ram. It comes in several speeds and is one of the most rapidly developing areas in the technological world, with smaller and bigger capacity chips being produced almost every few months.