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Five Basic Rules for Memory

All computers possess the ability to store information in its memory, also called Random Access Memory, or RAM. Some computers can hold small amounts of stored data in the memory and others have the ability to store massive amounts of information. Whether looking at memory for your next computer or trying to improve the memory on an existing computer, there are five basic rules for memory.

Knowing about RAM is the first rule for computer memory. Random access memory is a type of computer storage that allows files and information to be used. This process allows quick access to data that programs use. Most computer users have a version of Windows, such as Windows 95 or Windows XP as their operating system. Those who have Mac programs use another operating system. When looking at RAM for your computer, it is important to look at the size. Most computers users need a minimum of 128 MB. However, the larger the MB size, the better the computer will operate.

New computers with newer versions of Windows will need a higher RAM to run smoothly while an older version of Windows will require less RAM. Also, while a minimum amount of RAM will allow the system to operate, it may not perform at as well as it should.

Another rule to remember when thinking about computer memory will be to become familiar with cache and how cache works. Cache, pronounced “cash”, is a special type of high-speed memory. The cache is a buffer between the processor and the main memory. It will send data into the processes. This allows the computer to do the same functions over and over again. When the computer is called on to retrieve data, it will search the internal cache first. If the information is not found in the cache, it will search in the external cache chips next and then in the RAM last.

A cache holds all redundant information to save memory space and help the computer increase the speed. When the computer becomes slow, it is often recommended to clean the cache files and cookies that have been stored. By clearing space from these places, it allows the computer to process information faster. When it cannot locate the information in the cache, it will look in external cache chips and in the RAM. An example of how cache works is when a page on the Internet has been stored into the computer. This allows the user to go back to the last page or forward to the next.

Knowing what makes a computer work fast is another good rule for computer memory. Megahertz (MHz) is the speed measuring how fast a computer can think. Computers come in a wide variety of megahertz. This measurement of chip performance is expressed as millions of cycles per second. The higher MHz a computer has, the faster it will run. This directly affects how fast the computer can operate computers and commands. Some speeds on computers are measured in gigahertz (GHz). Gigahertz is measured in billions of cycles per second. One GHz is the same as 1000MHz. Computers with GHz are often used with programs that use multimedia applications.

The last two rules of computer memory involve keeping the computer’s memory clean and free to store more information and updating memory. Computers take a lot of memory to keep going. Storing too much information on a system is the number one way to slow the computer down. Having too much stored in the memory bogs the computer down and will often cause computers to crash as well. When a computer becomes slow, it is often necessary to clean the computer’s memory by defragging the system or deleting unnecessary files and programs.

Computer users can find out how much memory their computers have by checking the system control panel in Windows. That information can be located in the About This Computer menu on a Mac. This can also tell the user how much RAM the computer can handle and what type of memory and the speed of the RAM. New memory for an older computer can be updated easily and inexpensively if more is needed.

Most computer technicians can install more memory into the computer with minimal cost. When looking to hire someone to install computer memory it is recommended to purchase upgraded RAM from a vendor that gives a good guarantee. Make sure to back up all files on a disk before having the memory upgraded.

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