Thursday, September 11, 2008

Boosting Computer Performance with RAM

My desktop computer system at home is about 3 years old and I still keep if for sentimental value. Well, aside of course from the fact that it is still in the best shape and performance.

My only problem though is that the motherboard cannot already support newer and faster processors. Not that I want to change processor as mine is still perfectly working. But my point is that software is getting more complicated and my needs greater especially that I am getting into photography and multimedia and as any of you know, the file sizes of these stuff are just humungous.

My better judgment tells me that the best way to boost performance is to add more random access memory (RAM). Aside from the fact this really significantly boost up performance, even better than upgrading the processor, RAM chips are incredibly cheap. For 1 gigabyte of RAM chip, I bought one a few months ago for about 25 US dollars.

As a little backgrounder, the random access memory is the place where data and software currently in use by computer are placed. There is analogy I love and it goes like this. RAM is like a physical table where you have all sorts of work to do like worksheets, paintings and journal. If you have a small table, you cannot place these works all at once and you need to place the others on another place and keep swapping with whatever you want to work on.

In computers, if you have a small RAM capacity and you open many software, a swapping takes place between RAM and the hard disk storage. The problem with this is that it will take some time because the hard disk reads slower than RAM and this will negatively affect performance. Same is true with the computer technology as one will take extra time to swap between the table space and the other place where the other stuff are located.

I now have 2 gigabytes of RAM in my dear old laptop and I am thinking of adding more but the motherboard has reached its full capacity.

There is a good news I read on the web yesterday that says that flash memory (those that come in tiny keychain like thingies) can actually act as a supplemental RAM. In that article, it said that Microsoft through its new operating the Microsoft Vista, is capitalizing on developing flash drive to act as RAM. Wow, what great news. And flash drives nowadays could have up to 16 Gigabytes capacity and very cheap price!

How this works is that the computer moves regular accessed files which can no longer be accommodated in the RAM and store them into the USB flash drive.

I am particularly interested with this development because this can be very useful with my laptop. Laptops do not come cheap and they are hard to upgrade. I am sure that many of you laptop owners out there are as excited as I am.

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