Tech Talk: RAM Quiz


By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

How much RAM is in your computer? Do you need more? And if you do, how do you know? Take this quiz to learn everything there is to know about RAM, starting with what RAM stands for.

What does RAM stand for?

RAM, which stands for "random access memory," is considered "random access" because you can access any memory cell directly if the row and column is known.


The most common form of RAM is:

In dynamic RAM (DRAM), the most common type of RAM, a transistor and a capacitor pair up to make a memory cell. The capacitor holds a bit of information (in the form of a 1 or 0), while the transistor acts as a switch, allowing the control circuitry to change the state of the memory.


How often does a memory controller automatically refresh memory in dynamic RAM?

Dynamic RAM needs to automatically refresh thousands of times per second; that's where it gets the name "dynamic." Otherwise, it will forget the information it's holding.


On what substance are memory cells etched?

Memory cells are etched onto wafers made out of silicon, the important element used for integrated circuits in computer chips.


What sets static RAM apart from dynamic RAM?

Because static RAM requires anywhere from four to six transistors and some wiring, the memory never has to be refreshed. It's therefore faster than dynamic RAM. Because it has more parts, though, it takes up more space on a memory chip, which gives the chip less memory and makes it more expensive.


Memory chips are normally available as part of what type of card?

Memory chips almost always come as part of a card called a module. Memory's usually listed with two numbers, such as 8x32 or 4x16. The first number represents the number of chips on the module, while the second one tells the capacity of each individual chip, measured in megabits (Mb), or one million bits.


Which of the following is not a type of RAM?

Although flash memory is a type of memory, it acts more like a hard drive than RAM does. EDO DRAM and VRAM are both legitimate types of RAM. EDO DRAM, which stands for extended data-out dynamic random access memory, doesn't process the first bit before continuing to the next -- once its location is confirmed, EDO DRAM starts looking for the next bit, making it slightly faster than similar RAM types like FPM RAM. VRAM, or VideoRAM, is a type of RAM used for video adapters or 3-D accelorators.


RAM is usually sold in multiples of how many megabytes?

RAM is mostly sold in multiples of 16 megabytes: 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512 and 1,024 (the same as 1GB).


The first types of boards and connectors used for RAM were called what?

Boards and connectors are constantly evolving, but the first kinds used for RAM were considered proprietary. This meant that the different computer manufacturers developing memory boards would only design ones that worked with their specific systems.


What does the method known as parity do?

In RAM, parity is a type of built-in error-checking system. After the 8 bits in a byte receive data, even parity works by adding to total number of 1s. If the number is odd, the parity bit is set to 1; if the number is even, the parity bit is set to 0. When the data is read back, the total is added up again and compared to the first total. If the parity bit is 1, the data is error-free, but if the total is odd and the parity is 0, the chip recognizes a problem and gets rid of the data. Odd parity works in the same fashion, just the other way around.


In addition to the CPU, what computer component can have significant RAM?

Video cards can have up to several gigabytes of memory to make graphics run smoother.


Cache memory is:

Cache memory is closer to the CPU in order to be more accessible. It's usually static RAM.


A single transaction between the system memory and the CPU is known as:

Each interaction is a bus cycle.


The access time that it takes for the CPU to draw on memory can range from:

The access time is between 9 and 70 nanoseconds. A nanosecond is one-billionth of a second.


Which of these activities is not memory intensive?

Both photo editing and gaming use large amounts of RAM. Checking out a Facebook page does not.


When you change a memory card on your computer, you should:

Leave the computer plugged in unless the manufacturer advises against it. This establishes a ground and prevents static electricity discharges that can harm the memory card.


1 gigabyte of RAM is equal to how many kilobytes?

A kilobyte is 1,024 bytes. A gigabyte is more than a billion bytes.


What invention did IBM’s Robert Dennard patent in 1968?

Dennard figured out how to use a transistor to create dynamic random access memory (DRAM). His invention was the basis of the microcomputer revolution.


Core memory, which relied on magnetism, was used in all computers until 1976. What material did it utilize?

Core memory was based on ferro-magnetic ceramics that could be magnetized in one of two directions.


How much RAM came with the Altair, one of the first personal computers?

The Altair, sold as a kit in 1975, had only 256 bytes of memory. Users could add more. This computer excited a Harvard undergraduate named Bill Gates.


What does DIMM stand for?

Dual in-line memory modules are the most common form of RAM in today's computers.


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