As each year goes by, more and more of us use computers for something. Why do we use the very vague “something”?

Because in this case, the number of possible applications for a computer has increased so rapidly and so diversely that it truly would be an exercise in futility to make a list of everything you can do with them.

Having said this, there are certain applications that everyone uses, regardless of their main reason for using a PC:

  •         Music streaming
  •         Video-on-demand streaming.
  •         Gaming of any sort (including facebook games).

Because computers can be used, as we have seen, for entertainment, a lot more people are buying themselves their own PCs. The fact that the rapid advances in technology have made it cheaper and easier to get certain computer parts has also contributed to this.

The one thing that has not changed, however, is the fact that a lot of people simply don’t know the first thing about the components of a PC, what these components do and how they interact with each other.

As you might surmise, this means that a lot of people simply don’t know what to do when it comes to their machines failing.

Even the simplest of problems becomes a huge mountain to climb, and many even end up wasting time and money calling in a technician (or at least someone they think knows a lot about computers).

In the interest of furthering everyone’s knowledge of computers and their parts, we will be publishing a series of articles along the year that will centre on the components of a PC: what they do, how they interact with the PC and some common problems and how to fix them.

So, without further ado, let’s get going on the topic for this article: RAM.

First, let’s define the acronym:

  •         RAM means Random Access Memory, and as the name implies it is a type of memory a computer uses to transfer and store certain data. The difference between RAM and other types of memory is that RAM is both really fast and volatile. This directly translates to memory that can be used to speed up certain processes, but not for long-term storage.

With that cleared up, let’s proceed to some of the more frequently asked questions regarding RAM:

  •         Does clock speed matter? You will find that certain sticks of RAM have higher clock speeds and are more expensive than others with slower speeds. This used to be a bigger deal than it is now, and regular RAM with average or decent clock speed is more than serviceable nowadays.
  •         Can I mix RAM sticks from different manufacturers? Yes, you can. But, it is very important that you make absolutely sure that they are the same type. If you install a DDR2 stick with a DDR3 stick the results will not be good. Aside from that, combine away.
  •         Can my RAM run out of space, just like a hard drive? No, it cannot. As we explained before, RAM is volatile, which in this case means that once the memory stops receiving power, all of its contents are erased. Every time you shut down your PC your RAM gets cleared. You can, however, use up all of your RAM if you are running a ton of programs at the same time, although this has become rarer in recent years.
  •         What does all the DDR plus number mean? This might seem like something super complicated, but it’s not. DDR stands for Double Data Rate. The full name of this type of RAM is actually DDR SDRAM, which stands for Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory. Quite a mouthful, but essentially, it is a class of memory that makes access and transfer rates significantly faster than previous classes. Each new iteration simply makes these numbers faster than before.
  •         Is RAM the same as Virtual Memory? No, it is not. Virtual Memory, as its name implies, is virtual memory created and stored in your hard drive, and it is used in the event that your RAM fills up during certain tasks. It is nowhere near as fast as normal RAM, so it is used only when absolutely necessary.
  •         How hard is it to install or remove RAM? Random Access Memory is actually one of the simplest components to install into a motherboard. All you have to do is locate the RAM slots on the motherboard, align the sticks correctly (it is impossible to seat the memory if they are not properly aligned) and push them in. And that’s that. If you are installing just one stick you will need to check which of the RAM ports is the first one, but other than that, the process is exactly the same.

On a final note, why not give Safebytes’ DriverAssist a try? With this handy lightweight program, you get all the benefits of always having your drivers completely up to date, without the hassle of actually having to do it yourself!

Here are some of DriverAssist’s features:

  •         Automatic Driver Installation. You have no need to do anything else with Driver Assist other than install it onto your PC; the sophisticated software does all the work for you.
  •         Massive driver database always ensures you can identify hardware, even when Windows can’t!
  •         Smart Driver ID. The Driver Assist software is based on sophisticated technology that automatically detects all of the appropriate PC drivers in a matter of seconds. It will then match them with the latest available version, and update every driver required by your system with a compatible version on a regular basis.
  •         Full driver back-up and restore. Driver Assist helps you backup all of your data and restore your machine to the time when it was previously working if you encounter any problems.
  •         Enhanced USB management. Driver Assist also helps you manage USB devices. There is no need to worry about safely removing hardware with Driver Assist, as it makes the ejecting process and safely removing hardware from your PC extremely straightforward.
  •         24/7 customer support. Safebytes is on call 24/7 to assist you with any problems that you might encounter.