Understanding Computer RAM and Hard Disks can help you buy a computer.

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Although purchasing a new personal computer is often thought of as a holiday gift, there are many times of the year personal computers are purchased as gifts. But you probably know that and you want to understand more about the personal computer features to make a smart purchase. In this article we are going to talk about memory, personal computer memory.

When you are shopping for a personal computer you should be aware that the amount of memory, called random access memory or RAM, has a direct impact on price and performance of the computer.

Many consumers are confused between hard disk or hard drive and the computer’s RAM. This is an important difference and one you should know.

The hard disk is the computer’s permanent storage area for files and programs. This is similar to the file cabinet you store your documents in and all those unused instruction manuals.

Now the PC’s memory is the computer’s temporary storage area, a working area. This is comparable to your desktop, that is your office desk,kitchen table or tv tray; wherever you do your paperwork.

Let’s say you’re going to work on some homework, we all know what that is even of we are not doing it as part of our lives now. So you pull out your text book (in this example from the file cabinet) and put it on the desk. The book is there until you put it away. You already have a piece of paper there and a pencil, so you begin work.

This is your RAM. It’s the dynamic area where you work and create. It also holds the instructions (your textbook) telling you what to do, just like a program tells the computer what to do.

When you are done working, you put your paper that you created into the file cabinet and then you put the textbook away. When you are ready you can return to the file cabinet, pull out your file and continue working. This is your hard disk. It’s where you put your files and programs so you can retrieve them at a later time.

I think what creates a lot of confusion around these two items is that they are currently measured in the same unit, gigabytes. Gigabyte is abbreviated GB. In both cases, hard disk and memory, the more the better. These terms will be discussed in another article.