A Guide to Memory Technologies

Memory Technologies

Since the early days of computing, RAM (random access memory) has been necessary for storing temporary information that the computer needs to access quickly. Since that time, however, memory has undergone many changes and configurations. Let us look at some of the major types of memory and their differences.


(dynamic random access memory) distinguished itself from earlier SRAM (static RAM) in that it used a transistor and capacitor to store its data, and it is the basis for most modern types of RAM.


SDRAM (synchronous DRAM) was one of the earliest types of RAM to come in separate sticks that could be replaced, as earlier memory types were part of the motherboard. The modules operated at 3.3 volts and used 168 pins to transfer data.

Rambus (RDRAM)

Rambus was a technology used by Intel from 1999 to 2003. It offered better performance than current solutions at the time due to the fact that the memory could read and write on the rise and fall of a clock cycle, effectively doubling its throughput. The technology never became widely mainstream and was replaced by other options.

DDR, DDR2, etc.

DDR SDRAM (double data rate synchronous dynamic RAM) is an improvement on the original SDRAM technology. The technology has the ability to read and write on the rise and fall of the clock cycle, similar to Rambus, and has continued to evolve to faster clock rates and better performance over many years. The original DDR standard was replaced by DDR2, DDR3, etc. but none of the standards are backward-compatible, making it impossible to use older memory in new computers.

Memory technologies have continued to improve and evolve since the dawn of computing, and there is no reason to think they will stop any time soon. As more and more computers move to solid-state drives instead of platter-based drives, the performance bottlenecks are improved, meaning faster and better-performing RAM may be needed again soon.