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What is RAM?

RAM is an acronym for Random Access Memory. The processor can process data very quickly, but if it can't get that data quickly it doesn't matter how fast it works.

The hard drive can hold lots of information, but its problem is in getting that information in and out. The hard drive moves slowly. That's where RAM comes in. RAM can't hold as much information as the hard drive, but it can transfer data very quickly.

RAM is considered to be the resource which your computer uses for all of its computations. It's a temporary work area in which your computer uses, to do work. RAM is the place where your programs reside while they're running and where your open files are stored before you hit the "save" command. If active programs and files take up more room than your RAM has available, your computer uses empty space on your hard drive to keep track of what's going on (called "paging to disk").

Hard drives have moving parts, which make them slower. RAM chips don't - which, in a general sense, is why having lots of RAM makes your computer run faster.