Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Other uses of the "RAM" term

Other physical devices with read–write capability can have "RAM" in their names: for example, DVD-RAM. "Random access" is also the name of an indexing method: hence, disk storage is often called "random access" (Wiki:PowerOfPlainText, Fortran language features#Direct-access files, MBASIC#Files and input/output, Java Platform, Standard Edition#Random access, indexed file) because the reading head can move relatively quickly from one piece of data to another, and does not have to read all the data in between. However the final "M" is crucial: "RAM" (provided there is no additional term as in "DVD-RAM") always refers to a solid-state device.

Often, RAM is a shorthand in on-line conversations for referring to the computer's main working memory.

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