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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | System Memory ]

DRAM Technologies

DRAM is available in several different technology types. At their core, all of these different memory types are similar. They differ mostly in the way that they are organized and how they are accessed. As processors get faster, memory needs to run increasingly faster and more efficiently. Memory companies have invented progressively faster memory architectures to allow memory speeds to increase.

In the real world, the differences between many of the DRAM technologies is not that great. Most requests for data by the processor are satisfied from either the primary or secondary caches on a modern PC, which masks much of the improvement in DRAM efficiency. Also, memory is just one piece of the puzzle in overall performance. Often, more system memory is more important to performance than better system memory.

Also bear in mind that at its core, DRAM is DRAM. The differences between the various acronyms of DRAM technologies are primarily a result of how the DRAM inside the module is connected, configured and addressed, in addition to any special enhancement circuits added to the device. For example, some fancy modules include SRAM (cache) directly in the DRAM module to improve performance.

Note: You will find this section easier to understand if you read it in its entirety. This is because many of the DRAM technologies are defined by comparing them to the previous, slightly older technology.

Next: DRAM Technologies and Relative Performance

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