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Definition of Ram RAM is considered random access because you can access any memory cell directly if you know the row and column that intersect at that cell The opposite of RAM is serial access memory SAM SAM stores data as a series of memory cells that can only be accessed sequentially like a cassette tape If the data is not in the current location each memory cell is checked until the needed data is found SAM works very well for memory buffers where the data is normally stored in the order it will be used A good example is the texture buffer memory on a video card How RAM Works Similar to a microprocessor a memory chip is an integrated circuit IC made of millions of transistors and capacitors In the most common form of computer memory dynamic random access memory DRAM a transistor and a capacitor are paired to create a memory cell which represents a single bit of data The capacitor holds the bit of information -- a 0 or a 1 The transistor acts as a switch that lets the control circuitry on the memory chip read the capacitor or change its state A capacitor is like a small bucket that is able to store electrons To store a 1 in the memory cell the bucket is filled with electrons To store a 0 it is emptied The problem with the capacitors bucket is that it has a leak In a matter of a few milliseconds a full bucket becomes empty Therefore for dynamic memory to work either the CPU or the memory controller has to come along and recharge all of the capacitors holding a 1 before they discharge To do this the memory controller reads the memory and then writes it right back This refresh operation happens automatically thousands of times per second This refresh operation is where dynamic RAM gets its name Dynamic RAM has to
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