How can a computer be such an amazing gadget? To many people they just can't be so amazed on how computers have changed the way we live. Computers can now be found in many sizes and shapes. Almost every home appliance seems to have their own mini computer located somewhere. From cars to buildings to almost every gadget there is, most of the time each one has a computer working to make them run and change the very way we live life.
First and foremost, the most important component of the computer is its processor. It is considered the heart of the computer that does all the calculating and processing. But with all that calculating and processing, the computer won't be such a remarkable gadget if not for its amazing memory. Computer memory makes it possible to retain important information on a computer. Such data can be used again and again and retrieved when a certain stored data is needed. Without the computer memory, the processor will have no facility where to store its important calculations and processes, thereby making them useless.
There are different types of computer memory tasked to store different types of data. They also have different capabilities and specialties when it comes to storing necessary data inside the computer. The best known computer memory is the RAM, otherwise known as Random Access Memory. It is called random access because any stored data can be accessed directly if you know the exact row and column that intersect a certain memory cell. In this type of computer memory, data can be accessed in any order. RAM's exact opposite is called SAM or Serial Access Memory, which stores data in a series of memory cells that can only be accessed in order. It operates much like a cassette tape where you have to go through other memory cells before accessing the data that you are looking for.
Other types of computer memory include the ROM or Read Only Memory. ROM is an integrated circuit already programmed with specific data that cannot be modified or changed, hence the name "Read Only". There is also another type of computer memory called Virtual Memory. This type of memory is a common component in most operating systems and desktops. It helps the computers RAM to be freed up with unused applications to make way for loading current applications being used. It works simply by checking for data stored in RAM not being used recently and have it stored in the computer's hard disk, thereby freeing valuable space in RAM for loading other applications. A virtual memory will make a computer think that it has almost unlimited RAM inside it.
Another type of computer memory that has made computers process tasks faster is what is called cache memory. Cache memory works simply by having current applications, calculations and processes stored in its memory instead of directly to the main storage area. When a certain process is in need of data previously used, it first will try to access the cache memory if such data is stored there before accessing the central memory storage area. This frees up the computer from looking for the data in a larger and bigger memory storage area and makes data extraction faster. Computer memory is in a constant state of development as more and more technologies are being developed. Who knows, maybe in the near future computer memory might also be fit for human consumption.
About the Author
Robert Thatcher is a freelance publisher based in Cupertino, California. He publishes articles and reports in various ezines and provides computer memory resources on www.yourcomputermemory.info.