Random Access Memory is the old name for this type of memory - and the name isn't that well chosen anymore. RAM is faster than other kinds of memory, but also relatively small (RAM can be e.g. 256 MB, and a harddisc might be e.g. 40 GB - 160 times more). Therefore RAM quickly fills up, and then there's a strategy for how data are thrown away, to make space for the new, that's needed right now.
       RAM is used for a temporary copy of operating system, programs and data, so the processor can reach them fast. When the computer is turned off, the RAM is emptied. RAM is often the bottleneck on a computer, especially if there's too little RAM, and the computer is moving data to the RAM all the time (swapping).

Concept last updated: 16/09 2003.



Other sources

Pæn programmering RAM Router