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Random Access Memory (RAM)#

Random Access Memory is an extremely fast, non-persistent unit of storage. It can be used to hold virtualy any information you can imagine. It's primary use is for storing application data - the application's code and all the data it needs like images, documents, etc.

When we run an application on a system, it's the RAM that it's loaded into. From there, parts of the application are loaded into the CPU and the instructions are processed, allowing us to run software. All of that is handled by the kernel, a concept we'll come to study soon enough.

As with CPUs (processors), if you're not building your own computers or servers you'll likely never encounter a unit (or "stick" as they're referred to) of RAM. Instead you'll see RAM being referenced along side CPU speeds and core counts when you're creating virtual machines.

When we talk about RAM we also use the word "memory" a lot too. The words "RAM" and "memory" basically mean the same thing in this industry.

Memory IS RAM!

Memory IS RAM!
(The IT Crowd Season 2, Episode 4)

The word "memory" is used by some to mean the HDD or SSD inside the system, but this is incorrect.

The key topics we'll cover in this section are:

  1. Types of RAM
  2. Form Factors
  3. Denominations

These topics will give you an excellent grounding in Random Access Memory.

Don't forget your self-assessment and projects.