RAM Types Usage and Capabilities.txt

  1. PCB (Printed Circuit Board)
    The green board that all the memory chips sit on is actually made up of several layers. Each layer contains traces and circuitry, which facilitate the movement of data. In general, higher quality memory modules use PCBs with more layers. The more layers a PCB has, the more space there is between traces. The more space there is between traces, the lesser the chance of noise interference. This makes the module much more reliable.
  2. DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) Needs Refreshed
    DRAM is the most common form of RAM. It's called "dynamic" RAM because it can only hold data for a short period of time and must be refreshed periodically. Most memory chips have black or chrome coating, or packaging, to protect their circuitry. The following section titled "Chip Packaging" shows pictures of chips housed in different types of chip packages.
  3. Contact Fingers
    The contact fingers, sometimes referred to as "connectors" or "leads," plug into the memory socket on the system board, enabling information to travel from the system board to the memory module and back. On some memory modules, these leads are plated with tin while on others, the leads are made of gold.
  4. Internal Trace Layer
    The magnifying glass shows a layer of the PCB stripped away to reveal the traces etched in the board. Traces are like roads the data travels on. The width and curvature of these traces as well as the distance between them affect both the speed and the reliability of the overall module. Experienced designers arrange, or "lay out", the traces to maximize speed and reliability and minimize interference.
  5. Chip Packaging
    The term "chip packaging" refers to the material coating around the actual silicon. Today's most common packaging is called TSOP (Thin Small Outline Package). Some earlier chip designs used DIP (Dual In-line Package) packaging and SOJ (Small Outline J-lead). Newer chips, such as RDRAM use CSP (Chip Scale Package). Take a look at the different chip packages below, so you can see how they differ.
  6. DIP (Dual In-Line Package)
    When it was common for memory to be installed directly on the computer's system board, the DIP-style DRAM package was extremely popular. DIPs are through-hole components, which means they install in holes extending into the surface of the PCB. They can be soldered in place or installed in sockets.
  7. SOJ (Small Outline J-Lead)
    SOJ packages got their name because the pins coming out of the chip are shaped like the letter "J". SOJs are surface-mount components - that is, they mount directly onto the surface of the PCB.
  8. TSOP (Thin Small Outline Package)
    TSOP packaging, another surface-mount design, got its name because the package was much thinner than the SOJ design. TSOPs were first used to make thin credit card modules for notebook computers.
  9. CSP (Chip Scale Package)
    Unlike DIP, SOJ, and TSOP packaging, CSP packaging doesn't use pins to connect the chip to the board. Instead, electrical connections to the board are through a BGA (Ball Grid Array) on the underside of the package. RDRAM (Rambus DRAM) chips utilize this type of packaging.
  10. Chip Stacking
    For some higher capacity modules, it is necessary to stack chips on top of one another to fit them all on the PCB. Chips can be "stacked" either internally or externally. "Externally" stacked chip arrangements are visible, whereas "internally" stacked chip arrangements are not.
  11. Memory Banks And Bank Schemas
    Memory in a computer is usually designed and arranged in memory banks. A memory bank is a group of sockets or modules that make up one logical unit. So, memory sockets that are physically arranged in rows may be part of one bank or divided into different banks. Most computer systems have two or more memory banks - usually called bank A, bank B, and so on.
  12. SRAM (Static RAM)
    Usage: L1 and L2 Cache

    Capabilities: Very fast; does not need to be refreshed

    Notes: Very large, very expensive
  13. DRAM (Dynamic RAM)
    Usage: Main memory, expansion cards

    Capabilities: Smaller and less expensive then SRAM

    Notes: More complicated and slower then SRAM, this memory is considered outdated
  14. FPM RAM (Fast Page Mode RAM)
    Usage: Main memory, video memory

    Capabilities: Does not need a row and column for each access; does not require special support

    Notes: Slowest type of memory in modern PCs. This memory type is considered outdated.
  15. EDO RAM (Extended Data Out RAM)
    Usage: Main memory, video memory

    Capabilities: One access to the memory can begin before the last one has ended

    Notes: Does not work well at 75 MHz and beyond, same cost at FPM RAM
  16. SDRAM (synchronous DRAM)
    Usage: Main memory, video memory

    Capabilities: Synchronized with the system clock and can read/write in burst mode at speeds of 100 MHz and higher.

    Notes: Supports internal interleaving, allowing one access to begin halfway through a previous one
  17. DDR SDRAM (double data rate synchronous DRAM)
    Usage: Main memory, video memory

    Capabilities: Doubles bandwidth by transferring data twice per cycle

    Notes: More expensive than SDRAM
  18. DRDRAM (direct Rambus DRAM)
    Usage: Main memory, video memory

    Capabilities: Based on a high speed 16-bit bus with a clock rate of 400 MHz

    Notes: Proprietary to Intel and Rambus
  19. SLDRAM (synchronous link DRAM)
    Usage: Main memory, video memory

    Capabilities: Uses a 64-bit bus running at 200 MHz clock speed transferring data twice on each cycle

    Notes: Open standard
Card Set
RAM Types Usage and Capabilities.txt
RAM Types Usage and Capabilities