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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

OS 10.4 - What does RAM actually...do?


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smurfy

 
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I know that putting more RAM in my Mac will make it more powerful, but how? Faster? If so, just generally, or at certain things?

I'm considering upgrading from my standard 1GB RAM to 3GB so that I can play games through Boot Camp faster.

Also, I know this probably shouldn't be in this section, but there's no glaringly obvious section to put it in.
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Nagger Pumper

 
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RAM stands for random access memory, which is the ability for your computer to temporarily store info and recall faster than it is to reload that info.
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smurfy View Post
I know that putting more RAM in my Mac will make it more powerful, but how? Faster? If so, just generally, or at certain things?

I'm considering upgrading from my standard 1GB RAM to 3GB so that I can play games through Boot Camp faster.

Also, I know this probably shouldn't be in this section, but there's no glaringly obvious section to put it in.
When you want to run a program, the program must be loaded into memory in order for the CPU to be able to process it. That is, in a nutshell, what RAM does.

It is a common misunderstanding that adding memory makes a computer faster. If a machine has too little memory for the programs and operating system you choose to run on it, adding additional memory will indirectly make it perform faster. The reason for this is that most modern operating systems use something called "virtual memory". Virtual memory is a function of the operating system, it allocates a section of your hard drive as memory and tricks your programs into using that as memory. Of course hard drives are far slower than RAM, so by digging into virtual memory, your computer performs slower. Adding more RAM negates the need to use virtual memory so the computer performs faster.

In years past, operating systems didn't have a virtual memory feature, so if you didn't have enough RAM to run the programs you wanted to use, the programs simply wouldn't run.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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Brown Study

 
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"Random access" in RAM means the machine can grab what it needs immediately, as opposed to "sequential" (SAM?) where it would have to search from the beginning of everything stored.

LP records (think olden days) can be random. To play the sixth cut before the first, you can drop the tonearm at the proper place, and the sixth cut plays immediately. It's random access.

A tape is sequential access. The sixth song can't be played before the first one until the tape is forwarded or reversed to the proper place. To play the first one immediately after, the tape must be rewound.
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MacHeadCase
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And just to add to this discussion... An interesting Readers Report from MacInTouch, Mac OS X 10.3.8: Memory Management. I would guess most of this applies to Tiger as well...
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