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The difference between memory and storage for gaming

Kingston FURY DRAM memory module

For some time now, the flow of information on the next generation of consoles has been filling our technological radar. 

We can no longer stand reading and analyzing numbers and specifications. Seasoned PC gamers are obviously used to following the relentless march of technology that constantly launches new products into our wallets. 

But today, confusion is mounting with names, numbers and specifications added. It’s harder than ever to know what you want and what you’re going to buy.

 So to help you see more clearly during your next purchases, let’s talk about one of the fundamental components: memory .

Memory is a measure of the amount of data a computer can retain or store. Exactly like the human brain, it has two distinct functions: short-term memory and long-term memory.

 The computer empties short-term memory as soon as it no longer needs its contents, or when you turn off the machine.

 Long-term memory contains all files that must be retained when the system is powered off. So this is its storage space .

When we talk about the amount of memory in a PS5, Xbox Series X or PC, it is usually short-term memory. 

In technical terms, it is random access or dynamic memory, in English: RAM for Random Access Memory. When you think of RAM, you probably imagine DDR4 modules or modules.

 You can imagine it as a sort of notepad placed on the desk of the central unit, where it keeps a multitude of things (images, files, calculations, programs, etc.) that it will need very quickly .

 (For example, to quickly deploy maps or models according to application needs).

Your system needs to have plenty of RAM. Its processor can then keep more resources available at all times and access them without delay. 

This can range from the number of tabs open in an Internet browser to the high-resolution textures a game must load to advance to the next level.

 (This second example is sometimes supported by a specialized form of RAM that is part of the graphics card, called VRAM). 

Generally, when next-gen console manufacturers talk about the amount of memory in their new systems, they are referring to RAM or random access memory.

RAM is measured in GB (gigabytes) with capacities ranging from 2 to 64 GB per strip. But it’s also the same thing for the computer’s long-term memory, which is more commonly called storage. 

While the RAM of a gaming computer can have a maximum capacity of 256 GB, storage is more often measured in terabytes (1 TB is approximately equal to 1000 GB) of data.

Although storage, such as internal or external, rotating or solid-state drives (SSD), offers vastly higher capacities than RAM, access to them is nowhere near as fast.

 They are therefore better suited to storing resources, programs, images, photos, songs and videos, which are not in use, which you have not opened at the time. Basically, storage is the space where you keep things that you will need later or more than once.

Kingston FURY DRAM and Kingston KC2500 SSD

Storage comes in three forms: hard disk drive (HDD) and NVMe and SATA solid state drives. HDD is the slowest. 

Its rotating magnetic disk is at the heart of its design and the CPU does not have quick access to it.

Conversely, the SATA SSD is superior from this point of view. NVMe, on the other hand, is designed so that SSDs and its storage interface can communicate with the system’s CPU through PCI sockets at high speed while being smaller. Another element to remember: is storages have different access speeds, reading and writing.

SSDs do not need a physical platter on which a disk spins to access data. Therefore, they have much higher read and write speeds which are a blessing for transferring the gigantic high-resolution textures from a game’s installation folder to the RAM or graphics card.

Some games, like Cyberpunk 2077, even recommend installing an SSD for this reason, as it can shorten loading times

. The next-gen consoles all come with SSDs, allowing them to reduce loading times to almost nothing in some cases, like Marvel’s Spider-Man on the PS5.

To summarize, when technical specifications and minimum system requirements talk about memory, it is usually RAM. 

When they talk about storage, they say how much space is available on the system’s hard drive or SSD or how much space is needed to install a new game.



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