RAM can lump a lot of people’s heads. It is easy to get lost when the subject goes through memory density and speed, DDR and latency. Still, it is the best remedy for slow computers and understanding the difference between more RAM capacity or more RAM speed can set a good or bad purchase decision.
Most users understand that the more RAM memory, the greater the data processing capacity of the computer. The acronym stands for Random Access Memory (RAM). Basically, the device is responsible for storing information that is being processed by the CPU.
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Inside the RAM there are chips that store data temporarily. Each chip position is marked with an address – so the processor can find and communicate with them. It works as follows: When a program needs a stored data, the processor indicates which RAM address to read.
Meanwhile, understanding the speed of RAM generates a bit more headache. Here, you have to take into account the DDR version of memory that your computer uses. And worth a spoiler: Despite this, the speed of RAM is less vital than the manufacturers would like you to know.
What is the speed of RAM?
The speed of the RAM module is the ability to transfer data. The higher the number, the faster your computer can store and retrieve information from memory. The DDR goes into operation to improve module performance. Only each computer can have a different DDR version.
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Currently we are in the DDR4 that reaches a speed that varies from 2,133 MT / s (millions of transfers per second) to 3,000 MT / s. Older computers run the DDR3 version, whose speed varies from 1,066 MT / s to 1,866 MT / s.
It is important to note that this does not mean that your computer will run at maximum DDR speed. If the CPU or the motherboard of the device can only support 2,000 MT / s memories, the system will not support higher speeds.
The nomenclature to understand the speed of the RAM module is somewhat complicated. For example, in the image below you will end up coming across a soup of letters and numbers:
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This is a technicality based on the old expression of bit and byte data – one byte equals eight bits. In the example, the 1,600 MT / s DDR is represented in millions of bytes per second. Already PC3 12,800, expressed in millions of bits per second. There are two ways to express the same thing – if you multiply 1600 by 8, you will get the value of 12,800.
Again: the higher the DDR, the faster your computer can store and retrieve the information from memory.
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In addition to the speed rate, each RAM module also accompanies the so-called memory latency. It is represented by a sequence of four numbers, such as 5-5-5-15. Latency is the amount of time it takes for a module to access its own hardware, pick up the data, and deliver it to the processor.
The higher the quality of RAM, the lower its latency. In this case, a sequence like 2-2-2-12 is better than 9-9-9-24.
Even so, the latency differences are so minuscule that unless you perform server operations or operate multiple virtual machines, you are unlikely to notice any difference.
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How does it all affect my computer?
If you are a regular user and have come to the end of this text, the conclusion is that the speed of RAM does not mean much to your computer. While faster RAM and low latency will improve the device’s technical performance, you may not notice the difference in everyday tasks.
For those who understand the nerd universe, there is a reference: it’s like comparing Star Trek with Star Wars C3P0 – if one calculates the chances of survival in a billionth of a second and the other takes two billionth of a second, it really matters for Which one do you ask?
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A faster RAM module is good for gamers or people who operate machines that access multiple points, such as a high-traffic web server. In the first case, the device can improve graphics and increase the frame rate per second.
In most cases, it is worth investing in more RAM. If you are on the fence between buying 8 GB of 3,200 MHz DDR4 RAM or a device with 16 GB DDR4 of 2,400 MHz, the second option is better financially speaking.
For Internet browsing, more RAM can mean less risk of computer crash, enhancing the execution of multitasking and almost immediate answers from browsers, even with many open tabs. Meanwhile, more RAM speeds attribute almost unnoticeable performance gains to the average user.
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