The amount of memory that your computer has is referred to as Random Access Memory, or RAM. These are simply computer ‘chips’ that are normally rectangular in shape, as seen in the picture. RAM is a type of data store used in computers to allow the data that is stored on it to be accessed randomly, not just in sequence. This gives it the edge over other types of memory devices like the magnetic tape and hard disks as these can only access data on the storage medium in a predetermined order due to constraints in their mechanical design.
A general definition of RAM is provided by Wikipedia, where it states:”Generally, RAM in a computer is considered main memory or primary storage: the working area used for loading, displaying and manipulating applications and data. This type of RAM is usually in the form of integrated circuits (ICs). These are commonly called memory sticks or RAM sticks because they are manufactured as small circuit boards with plastic packaging and are about the size of a few sticks of chewing gum. Most personal computers have slots for adding and replacing memory sticks.“
Random Access Memory holds the program code and data during computation. A defining characteristic of RAM is that all memory locations can be accessed at almost the same speed. One drawback with RAM is that many types of them are volatile, which means that once the computer loses power, all information that was stored on them disappears.
RAM comes in many different sizes. In the early days, the memory size was as small as 8 kB and they were quite large. Now they are much smaller and the memory size goes beyond terabytes. These are truly ingenious pieces of hardware that must be carefully handled. If they are accidentally (or even purposefully) exposed to static electricty, they will be damaged and may end up nworking at all. That is why they are shipped in non-static bags (grey looking with a firm texture). One important thing to remeber BEFORE handling memory sticks is to discharge any possible static electricty from your hands by rubbing your palms against the power supply of your computer or on any grounded (earthed connection, i.e. has ome connection to the actual dirt or ground outside, hence the term ‘grounded’) object to release the static.
So enjoy your RAM and remember to handle them with care.