The RAM in mobile has become one of the most studied aspects when deciding to purchase a new mobile, and no wonder. As mobile operating systems have advanced and applications have become increasingly complex and resource-thirsty pieces of software, RAM has become a critical element in which everything – or almost everything – of the world becomes fixed when buying a terminal. But is it that important?
Many unknowns exist around the RAM in our mobile devices. Therefore, we intend to clarify the main doubts and answer the big questions about RAM.
What is RAM, and what is it for?
Before entering fully to answer some of the main questions, it is necessary to understand what this component is included in every one of the smartphones on the market. The random access memory or RAM -for its acronym in English, is a type of memory that -and devices are mobile, tablets, computers, or Smart TV, among others, used to store data that will be needed in the short term.
The RAM is an ultrafast memory since both reading and writing on it should be done almost instantly, something that would be impossible when using other types of memory devices such as internal storage. In addition, they are called “random access” memories since, regardless of the position in which you want to read or write, the waiting time will be the same by not using a sequential access mode.
Sequential vs random access, what is the difference? | when we speak of sequential access applied to computing, we refer to a type of access that follows a predetermined order when accessing elements before reading or writing to memory. it is a type of access slower than random, because to reach a specific point in memory, it must first go through the previous elements.
In our Android mobiles or tablets, the RAM acts in the following way: the operating system – more specifically, the kernel or kernel -, is in charge of managing the access of applications and other system elements to the RAM in such away. They can read or write only when the kernel allows it. Thus, these applications can store data temporarily, which can be accessed instantly when necessary.
This, translated into the day-to-day use we give to our devices, means that once the operating system, its processes, and other elements have used part of the RAM, they need to function, the remaining space is free. So that applications can store data. Once the mobile is turned off and on again, the RAM is freed, and the process begins again, with the applications struggling to try to occupy their position in the RAM.
Unlike the internal storage, the RAM is “cleaned” every time we restart the mobile.
It is also necessary to take into account that, like the vast majority of modern operating systems, Android includes integrated RAM management, which is responsible for dynamically granting empty spaces in RAM to different applications as they need it, up to Fill in all the gaps available to take full advantage of the RAM capacity of our device. Hence, it is commonly said that on Android, unused RAM is wasted RAM and that closing apps manually to save memory is not a recommended practice.
What does it mean that your mobile has 2/4/6/8 GB of RAM?
Now that the most basic concepts of how RAM works have become clear, it is necessary to answer one of the questions most asked by smartphone users: what does it mean that my mobile has 2, 4, 6, or 12 gigabytes of memory RAM.
We have already explained that RAM is a type of memory like any other, which differs from the rest by the type of access – random – and by the speed – which, by the way, is measured in megahertz -. Therefore, as with the rest of the memories, one of its most important features is the capacity, which is precisely the aspect to which these GB of which I spoke before refer.
That your mobile has a specific amount of RAM only means that both the applications and the operating system itself have more or less space when storing their data to access them later so that those mobiles with more RAM allow a greater number of applications to be kept in the background. Run, and therefore access to them will be slower. On the other hand, if the memory capacity is reduced, only a few applications will store data – the system reserves space for its processes, which the apps cannot occupy -, so the data must be loaded from scratch each time it is used.
How we have changed | the htc dream was the first android ever to hit the market, and it had 192 mb of ram. today, there are already mobiles like the asus rog phone 3 with 16 gb of ram, or what is the same, 84 times more than the htc model.
If an app or a process requests RAM from the operating system, but due to low memory capacity, there is no space available, the kernel will be forced to free memory using a technique known as swapping. There can also be a situation where the kernel has to kill a stored process in memory to make room for a new one. These calculations are made based on different factors, such as the time that has passed since the app was opened, which remains in the background so that ending a process to make room for another does not affect the normal performance of the device too much.
Swapping, the technique that uses internal memory as ram | when we talk about swapping , we refer to a technique that is based on using free space on the hard disk to store temporary data, thus reducing the use of ram. on android, this data must be compressed before being stored on disk, and later decompressed to be able to access it.
Of course, in Android, there is also the possibility of freeing RAM manually. By doing so, we can close the processes that the applications keep open to access them later as quickly as possible, thus leaving room for new processes. However, as I said before, it is generally better to let the operating system itself manage memory usage as it sees fit.
More RAM is always better; is it so?
Another of the most widespread doubts among smartphone users is how much RAM an Android mobile needs to work well. Considering the comments above, it would be easy to conclude that the more RAM, the better. But the reality is not so simple.
Like any component integrated into devices, RAM chips consume energy, and consumption is higher as memory capacity grows since more refresh cycles are carried out. This is how Park Ju Hyung, one of the developers of the Paranoid Android ROM platform, explains :
In addition, it is necessary to bear in mind that, although applications consume more and more RAM of our devices, there are still few that exceed the figure of 1 GB occupied. A table prepared by AndroidAuthority shows how common applications such as WhatsApp or Spotify rarely exceed 300 MB, while the heaviest games such as PUBG Mobile reach figures close to 1.15 GB.
How do i know how much ram memory my mobile has? | : practically all smartphones on the market reflect the amount of ram they include. however, you can check the memory of your mobile, as well as the occupied and available space if you access the developer options of your mobile , in the “memory usage” section.
Taking all this into account, the most advisable thing is to find a figure that adapts to our way of using the mobile, always keeping in mind that, today, the 8 GB of RAM is a figure that has proven to be capable of offering good performance in mid-range and high-end terminals alike. Therefore, if you are one of those who spend hours playing some of the most resource-demanding titles, or you use your mobile or tablet almost as a substitute for a computer and multitasking is the most important thing, you may choose a mobile with 12 GB of RAM is a good idea. If, on the other hand, you do not usually play or are not too demanding with the number of applications you use simultaneously,8GB should be more than enough.
RAM types and their differences
In the same way that there are different types of cameras, processors, or screens, we can find several different types of RAM, which generally differ due to their speed and energy efficiency.
Today, the most common type that we can find in Android smartphones is the LPDDR4X RAM, where LP means Low Power, and DDR4 refers to Double Data Rate or Double data transmission speed, while the number 4 corresponds to the version. Finally, the X indicates that it is a derivative version of LPDDR4 technology.
This type of memory offers a data transfer speed of up to 4,266 Mbps, the same as LPDDR4 technology, although it supports capacities ranging from 8 GB to 96 GB, a considerable increase over the maximum limit of 32 GB of LPDDR4 technology. . In addition, it bases its operation on a single 16-bit channel. They are manufactured in a 14-nanometer format.
But two years after the launch of LPDDR4X, new technology arrived that during this year we have begun to see in the first terminals, such as the OnePlus 8 Pro or the Galaxy S20 Ultra, by the way, two of the mobiles with the largest memory capacity RAM on the market. It is LPDDR5 technology, faster thanks to a speed of up to 6,400 Mbps, that translates into transfers of more than 50 GB per second while improving efficiency, reducing energy consumption by up to 30%. Today, this type of memory is not very widespread among smartphones, although it is expected that it will gain ground in the coming years.
The mobiles with the most RAM on the market
As application requirements and user needs have evolved and increased, manufacturers have chosen to equip their phones with ever-increasing capacities of RAM. Currently, these are some of the mobiles with more RAM that can be purchased from some of the main brands:
- Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro: 18 GB LPDDR5
- Galaxy S20 Ultra: 16 GB LPDDR5
- ASUS Rog Phone 5: 16GB LPDDR5
- OnePlus 9 Pro: 12 GB LPDDR5
Sharlene Meriel is an avid gamer with a knack for technology. He has been writing about the latest technologies for the past 5 years. His contribution in technology journalism has been noteworthy. He is also a day trader with interest in the Forex market.