RAM Question - "Filling Up" a Memory Stick

  1. Faith's Avatar
    Posts : 1,561
    Windows 10 Home 20H2 64-bit

    RAM Question - "Filling Up" a Memory Stick

    Hi. I have a question about random access memory (RAM) I was hoping to get an answer to so that I can get a better understanding on how it actually works. I tried searching around a bit, but my question didn't really get brought up, or if it did it was in these very tehnical articles that I had trouble reading up on.

    let say that I have 4 memory sticks in quad channel configuration with 8GB each (so basically 32GB of total RAM). When downloading apps, playing games these memory sticks will be "filled" (not sure the technical term for this) into "use", and once done it will be released and put on hold onto the "buffer" to be picked up later if possible, correct? So to questions:

    1) When these sticks are in use, will the first memory- in e.g slot 1 - be used first and then move over to stick 2? Or how does this actually work?

    2) If a single memory stick is faulty or in bad shape, will this affect everything or only when that particular bad stick is being used? E.g, Let say I'm playing solitaire, and that my 24GB of memory is already in use on memory number 1 to 3. Assuming that the first 3 slots are filled up first, will stick 4 (the bad memory) cause performance issues when Solitaire needs something from memory number 4?

    I hope my questions aren't too stupid. I'm only curious.
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  2. Caledon Ken's Avatar
    Posts : 24,263
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Version 2004

    Hi Faith.

    Have a look at this article.


    This wiki article has warnings, should be sufficient for high level reference.


    Simply put memory is working space. The more things you have running the more space you need. When you run out of space something has to removed, page file, to make space. Windows 10's has some strategies to deal with what is in memory and what is being used.

    The more space you have the less time the CPU wastes making space. That is why there are minimum recommendation for Windows 10. Try running on 2GB of memory and you will see the difference.

    If you open up task manager, click on performance tab, click on memory you can see how much memory is being used. Make your system busy and look in task manager, see how much of your 16GB is being used. (16 GB from your specs)

    As you down load information it is temporarily stored in memory but then it is quickly pushed to long term storage, HDD.

    To answer question 1. No, all your sticks are in use all the time.

    To answer question 2. If any of your memory is bad you have issues. It's random. Maybe it works for 5 minutes or 10 secs, if that address gets called on an it’s corrupt you normally get a BSOD. If the error or damage is bad enough your machine won't boot.

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  3. Posts : 1,212
    Windows 10 Pro

    The order in which memory is used is not fully documented. You can't really determine this without advanced tools and high level knowledge. But do understand that more memory is in use than what the memory gauge might seem to indicate. And memory does not fill neatly like water fills a glass.

    A wide variety of things can happen when memory has problems. Performance problems would be highly unlikely. If you are lucky it will be an application failure or BSOD, depending on whether an application or kernel level software was using the effected memory. This is good because you know there is a problem and can deal with it. In less fortunate cases the possibilities are more subtle and may not be recognized. Often such problems are blamed on other things. In the worst case everything appears to be working well but data is silently corrupted. The most difficult problem to solve is the one you don't know you have. This is why servers and professional workstations typically use special ECC error correcting memory. Desktops and laptops usually don't. The motherboard must be designed for such memory.
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