RAM (random access memory), also known as system memory, is used by the computer's operating system to run applications. RAM module technology has become increasingly more compact. As a result, computers can hold large quantities of RAM memory in a small amount of space. In theory, more RAM means the computer runs faster. However, Windows cannot necessarily utilise all the RAM available. There are alternative uses for this excess RAM.
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64-Bit Windows OS
Most computers come preloaded with 32-bit versions of Windows. These 32-bit operating systems can recognise and utilise only as much as 4 GB of RAM. The easiest way to make use of additional RAM is to upgrade to a 64-bit version of Windows. These versions are capable of handling different amounts of RAM. The 64-bit Windows 7 Starter and Home Basic Editions can use as much as 8 GB. The Home Premium Edition can use as much as 16 GB. And the Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate versions can use as much as 192 GB of RAM. Values for 64-bit versions of Windows Vista are similar.
Another function for unused RAM is to create a RAM Disk. Ordinarily, when Windows is running many applications at once, it utilises virtual memory to help when RAM is low. Virtual memory consists of page files that are created on the hard drive. These temporary files act like RAM. The memory management unit places files into the page file until RAM space is available. The problem with this is that hard drive memory is much slower than RAM. Additional RAM can be assigned to take the place of the hard drive virtual memory space. This is known as a RAM disk.
Additional RAM can be used to boost a computer's video memory. Graphics cards that are integrated with the system's motherboard can share RAM to help power video settings. This can be accomplished by entering the system's BIOS (basic input output system) and changing the AGP (accelerated graphics port) aperture size. This setting refers to the amount of system memory reserved for use in graphics. A user typically enters the BIOS by entering set-up when the computer boots up. Increasing the AGP aperture size should make graphics applications run more smoothly.
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