V: All about your data: RAM memory and hard disks

computer memory chips

So let’s move to memory now, in a computer there are several  types of memory and even some components as the graphic card uses its own memory. In any case, you will have to choose at least for how many RAM memory and the type of hard disk that you are going to use. Here the choices are pretty straightforward, let’s start with the RAM memory:

Choose RAM memory:

The RAM (Random Access Memory) is what the computer used to work with data. In this memory, the data to be/being processed is written and accessed very quickly. This kind of memory is very, very fast, and higher amount of it allows the computer to handle more data without reading from the the hard disk. Because reading from the hard disk is slower than reading from the RAM, you want to have a lot of this memory to keep the computer using only RAM memory and getting higher performance.

If you have read the post about choosing a motherboard, it is the number of slots of the motherboard and the specification of them what tells you how much you can have. In general, if you can afford it, just aim for the maximum amount distributed in an even number of modules with the same capacity. This is important because the computer works better if it can split the memory being processes in chunks of equal size. So if your motherboard can handle let’s say 16GB, it is better if you use 2 slots of 8GB or 4 of 4GB than one with 8GB and other 2 with 4GB. It is also better if you get the modules that work at the fastest rate that your motherboard can provide.

There is no computer that don’t benefit of a big amount of RAM memory, of course, if you are planing to do a lot of games and high demanding tasks is also better if you go for the highest quality because that memory will perform better under high load of data. Yet also lower-end builds will benefit with this.

Choose Hard Disk:

There are two different types of disk right now, traditional mechanical hard disks and solid state disks (SSD), being the later faster but also smaller. Recommendations are pretty straightforward in this type as well:

  • You need to get a big mechanical hard disk to keep all the data. This drives are slower but can store huge amounts of data, so they are good to storage your photos, videos and documents. If you don’t really need extreme performance, with one of these you are already set.
  • For higher performance, you should get a SSD disk and install there your operative system and programs. You will still store your photos, videos and documents in the huge disk but your programs will benefit the faster speed of your SSD drive.

The key things you will look for in the hard disks:

  • Interface: this tells you how is connected to the motherboard, to be compatible, you need a the same kind of interface in your motherboard.
  • Capacity: How much data you can store.
  • Form factor: This gives you an idea of how big is the device. You have to know it because you have to be sure that you have the correct bay in your case.
  • RPM (only for mechanical): The speed of the hard drive, as usual is better if faster.