What is the Difference Between Static and Dynamic RAM

by admin on June 26, 2008

A computer uses RAM or memory as a place to store data in between times that the processor is using it. For example, a processor might be adding up a series of numbers, and would use the RAM as a place to store all the numbers it’s working with. There are two kinds of RAM used in computers; so what’s the difference between static and dynamic RAM?

The most common form of RAM in a computer is dynamic RAM. Each chip contains millions of tiny memory cells made up of a transistor and a capacitor, and can contain one bit of information – a 0 or a 1. In order to store a bit of information, the computer needs to put a tiny amount of power into the cell to charge the capacitor, but this energy leaks out quickly. So to keep information in dynamic RAM, your computer needs to recharge all the cells in the memory chip every few milliseconds, or all the data is lost. This constant refreshing gives dynamic RAM its name.

Static RAM, on the other hand, works with a completely different technology. Each cell holds a bit of information that can be flip-flopped, from 0 to 1, and doesn’t need to be refreshed; although, it requires more transistors to make it work. Because it never needs to be refreshed, it uses less power and operates much more quickly. But it’s much more expensive to manufacture.

All modern computers use a tiny amount of static RAM, as a cache close to the CPU where it’s most needed to help perform calculations quickly, and then larger quantities of dynamic RAM to hold programs and data.

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