The word ‘memory’ is commonly used in computer lingo to refer to RAM. When you start an application, say a game, your computer stores some of the data required to make it work in the RAM so that it can be easily and speedily accessed. There are several forms of memory in the computer (for example the hard drive, is also a form of memory). RAM, however, is of foremost importance, since it is the first place where the data is directed to when an application is started. Only after passing through RAM is any data stored in any other storage device.
We can compare the function of RAM with a real life situation in order to understand it better. If you are giving a lecture before a large audience, chances are, you will commit important portions of it to memory so that you may remember or access it as a when required. If you were to search in a book or other research source each time you wanted to make a key point, it would take too long and you would your lecture would come to a halt each time, until the information was found. Similarly, each time a command is entered on the computer, the CPU processes it and instructs the hard drive to load it into the memory. This enables it to get to it more quickly when required. RAM keeps all the information just before the computer needs to use it.
Computers are able to process information uninterrupted as long as all the information needed is available to it in the RAM. If the RAM is not enough to store the information, the computer will search for it in an alternative storage device such as a hard disk or floppy, transfer it to RAM and then continue processing. The more such interruptions, the slower the computer becomes. Hence, as a general rule, more RAM means faster computing and processing.
Not so long ago, the maximum memory a computer needed was 128MB (megabytes). Today at least 1-2GB (Giga Bytes) of RAM is required to run even the most basic applications. Ideally between 2-4 GB is needed for most applications. And if the user is using a lot of graphics, music or gaming applications, then 8GB of RAM is essential.
In short, the mantra for memory is more is great; less is bad.