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PC Hardware Cont.............

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More About Memory

RAM memory is installed in the system on little circuit boards called modules that plug into the motherboard. This makes it very convenient to add more memory by plugging in another module. Older computers used a SIMM, which stands for Single Inline Memory Module, and later ones use a DIMM or Dual Inline Memory Module. The difference is that DIMMs have different signals on each side of the module connector, and the additional signals allow more memory addresses and more data lines going in and out.

The amount of memory is always is some multiple of two bytes. The most common values are 32, 64, 128, 256 or 512 megabytes.

As it is used by the system, RAM is divided into base memory and extended memory. Base memory is the first megabyte, and extended memory is everything over that. The very first PCs had only base memory, and then a scheme was developed called expanded memory that tricked the computer into allowing more than 1 MB of memory. Once extended memory was developed though, expanded memory quickly became obsolete and will only be found in older computers.

Another memory term you will encounter is cache memory. This refers to memory that is not on DIMMs but is either built into the CPU or connected directly to the motherboard near the CPU. It provides even faster access than RAM for the data that the CPU expects to need next. The contents of the cache will change constantly depending on what the CPU is doing.


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