What is RAM frequency and how is it different from RAM speed?


Based on the picture of the square wave diagram above, the peaks of the diagram indicate the presence of voltage and the bottom lines indicate the absence of voltage. Computers create square waves from these voltage ups and downs, which are then translated into binary codes (0 and 1).

RAM frequency is a concept related to RAM clock cycle, while most people consider RAM frequency to be equal to RAM speed; But the frequency value covers only one part of the RAM speed equation.

The point is that every reading and writing of data that is done is called a cycle or the same cycle and RAM is measured based on the number of cycles it does in one second. Thus, if RAM is 3,200 MHz, it is capable of completing 3.2 billion cycles per second.

The higher the cycle rate; As a result, the power of RAM to store and read data also increases, which will lead to a smoother user experience. On the other hand, there is a direct relationship between the double data rate of RAM (DDR) and the clock cycle, which we will discuss further.

What is the MT/s scale?

The big number used after RAM in the introduction of its model has always had a megahertz scale; But recently, many manufacturers, completely wrongly or unfairly, use a large number in the name sequence of their RAM model, which basically shows the amount of data exchange rate with megatransfer unit.

Of course, in some cases, without writing MHz or MT/s, they just write a big number, and without providing further explanation, they make users and buyers, relying on their previous knowledge, consider that number to be the RAM frequency, while That number will be much higher than the actual frequency of the purchased RAM.

In fact, in a large part of advertisements and among many users and even some memory manufacturers still show the RAM speed in megahertz, while the number attributed to it indicates the transfer rate of Mega Transfers per Second or MT/s.

For example, let’s say you see Kingston DDR4-3200 RAM somewhere. Undoubtedly, the first impression is that this value should be the frequency of the RAM, while this number indicates the data exchange rate and its measurement unit is megatransferseconds.

Megatransfer is the data rate measurement unit in megabytes, thus one megatransfer is equal to one megabyte. If you measure megatransfers in seconds, you get a logical way to calculate RAM speed in terms of how much data it can transfer per second.

There is no doubt that it makes more sense to measure RAM speed by data exchange rate now; However, the manufacturer should remind the buyer about this by using MT/s representation in the model name that the written number is not the RAM frequency but the data exchange rate.

CAS or Column Access Strobe delay is the RAM delay in receiving the command and then sending the response. The numerical form that shows the CAS delay will be as follows: 15-17-17-35. These numbers indicate the number of clock cycles that the RAM needs to respond to the command, and the CAS delay will be the first number of this set of 4 numbers.

However, CAS latency affects overall RAM speed. For example, high MHz with low CAS latency may provide slower speeds than low MHz with faster CAS. Therefore, RAM speed is not about RAM frequency and includes more factors.

Another factor that affects RAM speed is DDR technology, which has different versions. In computer science, a double data rate bus, or DDR, transfers data on both the rising and falling sides of a clock signal.

Such a feature causes data to be sent and received twice at the same time in each clock cycle. Such a process will double the memory bandwidth and will also have an effect on the speed of data entry and exit to RAM.

Data rate and RAM frequency

However, RAM speed may be measured in megahertz per second or megatransfer per second; But to understand why RAM manufacturers use megahertz to express it, and why some people strongly oppose such a measure, I need to know more about frequency and data rate to understand how they affect RAM speed and overall RAM performance.

RAM modules, like any modern digital memory device, consist of transistors that act as switches. These switches work just like turning off and turning on a room lamp.

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