20 November 2008

Computer Memory

Because the microprocessor alone cannot accommodate the large amount of memory required to store program instructions and data, such as the text in a word-processing program, transistors can be used as memory elements in combination with the microprocessor. Separate integrated circuits, called random-access memory (RAM) chips, which contain large numbers of transistors, are used in conjunction with the microprocessor to provide the needed memory. There are different kinds of random-access memory. Static RAM (SRAM) holds information as long as power is turned on and is usually used as cache memory because it operates very quickly. Another type of memory, dynamic RAM (DRAM), is slower than SRAM and must be periodically refreshed with electricity or the information it holds is lost. DRAM is more economical than SRAM and serves as the main memory element in most computers.

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