Pocketnow Power User: All about RAM (video)


We live in a day and age where electronic devices are an integral part of our everyday lives. What’s inside them that makes them do everything that we need them to do?

On this episode of Pocketnow Power User we’re going to talk about another very important component: RAM — Random Access Memory — and how much is really “enough”.

All about RAM

When talking about the memory that goes into our smartphones, tablets, wearables, and even our routers, desktop computers, laptops, and other pieces of hardware that power our digital lives, there are essentially two kinds of memory to talk about. There’s long-term storage, sometimes called non-volatile storage, and occasionally (but erroneously) called ROM; and then there’s RAM (Random Access Memory), or just “memory”.

The CPU, which we talked about last week, processes information that’s stored in long-term memory after it’s been loaded into RAM. RAM is volatile — if you turn off the power to it, all the data sort of “falls out”. Data on non-volatile memory (your hard drive, USB flash drive, or NAND flash in your phone or tablet) survives power cycles, but reading from it and writing to it is very slow, at least when compared to RAM.

Apps and data, not to mention your operating system, are stored in non-volatile memory, but have to be loaded into RAM if you want to use them. As apps get more complex, especially when we’re talking about apps that take advantage of HD, 2K, 4K and eventually higher resolutions, we need a lot more space to store them.

How much is “enough”?

Today, “emerging markets” might be able to get by with 512MB RAM. Luckily, Android KitKat and Windows Phone seem to do fairly well with only ½ GB RAM. For the rest of us, 2GB is the sweet spot. It’s plenty for what we need today, and gives us some room for the near future. 1GB will get you by.

Higher-end devices are starting to come with 3GB RAM. That’s a little over-kill for today’s needs (wants are a different matter entirely), but it’s a great idea to help future-proof your investment.

That’s pretty much all you need to know when it comes to the “RAM” line on a device’s spec sheet. If you’d like add to the conversation and share your knowledge and experiences, please head down to the comments and keep the conversation going!



Thanks for joining us, and don’t forget to subscribe and tune in next week for Episode 03 of the Pocketnow Power User!

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.