What is the difference between hard drive space and RAM? That is a good question, one that arises so often in troubleshooting calls and sales support. There is so much detail that I could go into about this question but this blog is going to be a quick explanation that will give a pretty good idea of what each of them are and the purpose that they serve.
First off, let’s talk about your hard drive and the space that it provides. A hard drive is a physical disk made up of blocks and sectors on a drive that stores your information in strategic areas that allows access to your information. Your hard drive permanently stores information for access. The space on the disk (the gigabytes) is utilized for storage only. The more or less space you have available does not directly affect the speed and performance of your computer. The only speed or performance affected is how quickly your computer can retrieve previously stored information. On a normal basis, this speed is not really recognizable by a normal person in normal use.
That takes us to your RAM. RAM is defined as “random access memory” with random being the key word. This is also measure in gigabytes or in some cases, megabytes. Unlike your hard drive, your RAM temporarily stores information for access. Your RAM works hand in hand with your processor speed and manages the speed and ability to multitask and run programs. The more RAM and processing speed that you have, the faster programs will run, open, and the more programs you can run simultaneously.
So to break it down in a very simple analogy, let’s look at it like a chef’s kitchen with your hard drive being the refrigerator and the RAM being the counter space. The bigger the refrigerator the more items you can store and the fuller it gets, the more time it takes to find the items you need to cook a meal. If you have a small counter, you can only chop the vegetables and then cut up the chicken. You are only able to do one thing at a time. If you have a big counter top, you can do multiple things at the same time and even get someone in there to assist you to get the meal cooked faster.
Ideally, you want a kitchen with big counter tops, a big refrigerator, and plenty of space to cook as much as you ideally want without restrictions. If you have any questions before buying or upgrading, Everon is a great resource to answer your questions about your hardware.