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What Is Desktop Memory? Ultimate Guide

The question “What is Desktop Memory?” is one that is heard frequently and prompts a complex answer. If you’re unsure of the term “desktop memory,” it might sound like a bunch of jargon that a tech guru would throw at you to wrangle some extra cash from your wallet at the time when you wish to buy desktop memory.

This is far from the truth. In fact, desktop memory is key to the workings of a PC or desktop. Once you delve into the specifics, you’ll find that various factors can affect your PC’s operation.

We have created this guide to help you understand what desktop memory is.

How Does Desktop Memory Work

The first step to understanding desktop RAM is learning about its role within your PC and how it works.

RAM is essentially temporary storage for any information your PC needs, short-term and will need in the very near future. This is where RAM differs from HDDs and SSDs (which store data for the long term and are much slower than desktop RAM – which operates at an insanely fast rate).

The short-term storage that this refers to are services like web browsers and other applications such as Microsoft Word. The desktop memory acts as a sort of middle-man between your CPU and hard drive to prevent your processor from trawling through all your hard drive storage… That would take forever!

So, whenever you want to open a new tab on your browser or load up your favorite game, your desktop memory is on hand to make the process as smooth as possible.

Although desktop RAM can temporarily store information, you’ve got to remember that it only works when your computer is switched on. That’s where hard drives and solid-state drives come in. These types of storage will hold onto your information once your system is switched off.

Types Of Desktop Memory

Desktop RAM is actually a blanket term and covers several types and sizes of memory, including 16GB RAM desktop, and 8GB RAM PC. However, the 4GB RAM for PCs is now considered obsolete as it is only found in end-of-the-life desktop PCs. 

Moreover, the two main types of desktop memory are DRAM (dynamic random access memory) and SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory). The specifics aren’t relevant beyond technicalities but highlight that the term RAM is a generalization.

Most common type of RAM is DDR4 (Double Data Rate), with other less common types, such as DDR3 and DDR2, being used by older systems. Don’t let the numbers confuse you. They simply refer to the generation of the RAM, with DDR4 being the fourth generation.

Each generation of RAM is an improvement upon the last, offering faster speeds with an incredible bandwidth, which is marked by a higher megahertz (MHz) rating. Not only will the specifications change, but the physical design also changes, meaning they’re not interchangeable.

Forms Of RAM 

Another variation of RAM is forms, which are DIMM and SO-DIMM. DIMM is primarily used for desktop PCs, while SO-DIMM is mainly used for laptops. If you’re using DIMM or SO-DIMM memory, DDR-type rules still apply, meaning there are just as many DDR4 SO-DIMM RAM sticks as there are DDR4 DIMM RAM sticks. The physical design of these sticks is also different, so you will not be able to fit a SO-DIMM stick into a DIMM stick slot.

Height Of RAM

One factor that people probably do not consider is the height of the RAM, but it’s actually essential when buying desktop memory that the modules aren’t too high. The height of the RAM will depend on the manufacturer, and if it’s too high, your desktop RAM may not fit in the slot due to the CPU cooler potentially blocking the slot. So, when selecting the cooler for your CPU, you must remember the height of your RAM, ensuring that both components will fit into the unit nicely. Some coolers have been modified to give more space for the RAM.

Desktop Memory For Gaming

If you’re an avid gamer, you’ve probably already heard of VRAM (Video RAM) and its role in the PC system. VRAM denotes memory on a PC memory card, for those who don’t know. In games consoles, it’s also used to reference system memory, which is reserved exclusively for the GPU.

More commonly, it is called GDDR (Graphics Double Data Rate) and will have a number to indicate which generation it is, for example, GDDR6. This is used in most modern graphics cards, although some may use another type of VRAM known as High Bandwidth Memory. This is broken down into HBM, HBM2, and HBM2e, each offering unique performance benefits but often expensive.

The Importance Of Desktop Memory

Ensuring the right amount of memory on your desktop is crucial to ensure it can perform. If you haven’t got enough, your PC will be slow as it struggles to carry out basic tasks. If you opt for RAM with the highest MHz rating, your PC won’t run incredibly fast – but it will rinse your wallet.

That’s why, when it comes to choosing RAM, it’s much better to work out how much desktop memory you actually need to balance cost with the performance of your PC. It’s also important to remember that devices such as smartphones and tablets don’t require as much RAM as a gaming PC, for example.

If you’re coming up against tasks that are limited by your CPU, such as gaming or editing videos, you must ensure you have enough RAM in your PC. Selecting the best bargain won’t always cut it, and if it can’t handle what you need it to, then you’ll end up buying again.

When improving your PC’s performance, consider what it will cost. Including a faster CPU or graphics card will significantly impact your PC’s overall speed than faster memory, although some CPUs benefit more than others when paired with faster memory.


It’s essential to understand how RAM works and what size of RAM you need to ensure that it’s compatible with your PC. Hopefully, this brief guide has highlighted the question, “What is Desktop Memory?”.

Now that you know the desktop memory you need for your PC, why not treat yourself and your PC to a much-needed upgrade? You’ll find all the different RAM types you’ll need here at Direct Macro. Discover your essential RAM improvement. But remember to refer to this guide so that you get everything absolutely spot-on.

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