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What is RAM memory used for?

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Quick Answer

Random access memory is used to store temporary but necessary information on a computer for quick access by open programs or applications. The data stored in RAM can be accessed randomly, meaning a computer does not need to search through large blocks of data to find what it needs. This targeted access makes it possible to run complex programs quickly and efficiently.

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What is RAM memory used for?
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Full Answer

Random access memory stores information in a grid of memory cells. This grid allows a computer to access specific information by locating the row and column for the cell containing that information. This is unlike serial access memory. SAM has a series of memory cells that can only be accessed in order requiring a search through the entire block of information to find specific data. In essence, searching SAM for specific information is like searching for 3 seconds of a song on a full cassette tape by fast forwarding from the beginning. RAM is more like finding data on a large spreadsheet. If the column and row numbers are known, the information is easy to access. Because RAM is so easily accessed, it stores the information a computer needs to run open applications and programs. As programs demand the data, the computer can quickly find and supply it. RAM is short-term memory, and all information on RAM is lost when a computer is shut down. Essential data is stored on a hard drive and moved to RAM when a program or application is opened.

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