RAM serves as a temporary storage facility for data used by running applications or the computer’s operating system. The computer’s CPU can instantly retrieve this data and utilize it when needed. Without RAM, none of your applications, files, or games would function.
The computer houses the RAM in memory slots attached to the motherboard via metallic pins. You can identify each RAM type by the number of pins that connect them to the motherboard.
The number of pins the memory uses to connect to the system determines its RAM size.
Now, let’s revisit the question.
How Many Pins Does My Ram Have?
The numbers of pins on the RAMs of modern computers usually range from 100 to 240, although some may number as many as 288 pins.
Your RAM pin count depends on the type of memory module or RAM chip used. Different RAM chips or memory modules have a different number of RAM pins.
Earlier RAM chips with single in-line memory modules (SIMM) had 30 pins. Newer SIMM chips, however, have 72 pins. SIMMs, however, are now outdated. Double in-line memory modules (DIMM) are currently the standard for modern RAM chips.
DIMMs typically have 184 pins, but some have as many as 240 pins. DDR4 DIMMs, an advanced DIMM model, has 288 pins.
SO-DIMMs or small outline double in-line memory modules are DIMMs with a smaller form factor, usually used in laptops. They come in 72-pin, 144-pin, and 200-pin variants.
So how do you determine the type number of RAM pins on your computer?
How To Determine The Number Of Pins Your RAM Has
To know your RAM pin count, check your computer’s specifications for the RAM module and refer to the chart below.
DDR – 184 pins
DDR2 – 240 pins
DDR3 – 240 pins
DDR4 – 288 pins
DDR – 200 pins
DDR2 – 200 pins
DDR3 – 204 pins
DDR4 – 260 pins
To make sense of all these, you need to know what RAM pins are and their significance. So, let’s go deeper.
What Are RAM Pins?
If you check your RAM slot on your motherboard, you will see small metallic pins at the base of the panel that link the slots to the motherboard. These are the RAM pins.
RAM pins are not the same for different types of RAM chips or memory modules.
Are RAM Pins Important?
Newer, more advanced RAMs have more pins than older models. It is easy to connect the dots here because these more recent models have enhanced processing power, are more efficient, and consume less power.
Note that getting RAM with more pins does not necessarily translate to better performance—the primary factor for compatibility with your system.
The number of pins your RAM has depends on the memory module it uses. So what are memory modules?
What Are Memory Modules?
A memory module, often known as a RAM stick, is a printed circuit board that houses memory integrated circuits. Memory modules make it simple to install and replace memory in electronic devices.
The early memory modules were proprietary designs only available for a single computer model from a single vendor.
Memory modules are either single in-line memory modules (SIMM), dual in-line memory modules (DIMM), or small outline dual in-line memory modules (SO-DIMM).
DIMMs and SO-DIMMs come in either single or double data rates (SDR or DDR). SO-DIMMs either come with single or double notches.
Single In-line Memory Module (SIMM)
The SIMM was an early form of a 32-bit memory module with a circuit board holding nine memory chips. The SIMM is a 1983 invention of a Wang Laboratories team.
Computers with a 486, early Intel Pentium, or similar processors used the SIMM. And that’s because the Pentium is 64-bit and SIMMs had to come in pairs in the Pentium 64-bit computers.
Dual In-line Memory Module (DIMM)
The DIMM is a 64-bit computer memory that allows for quick data transfer. A DIMM is a memory module that contains one or more random access memory (RAM) chips on a tiny circuit board connected to the computer motherboard by pins.
The DIMM stores data bits in a distinct memory cell. DIMMs employ a 64-bit data path because most personal computer processors have a 64-bit data width. DIMMs are commonly found in desktop computers, laptops, printers, and other electronic devices.
Differences Between SIMM And DIMM
The SIMM memory module is an outdated RAM module. The SIMM was created by Wang Laboratories in 1983 and was widely used on personal computers throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
The DIMM emerged in 2000 to solve SIMM inadequacies that surfaced as technology progressed. Let us examine how the RAM modules differ from one another.
Pin count: The pins on DIMMs and SIMMs enable them to connect to a computer’s motherboard. A DIMM module’s most common pin count is 168 pins, whereas a SIMM module typically has 72 pins. Other DIMM pin variants are available, ranging from 100 – 240 pins.
Module size: The length and width of a standard SIMM module are 4.25 inches and one inch, respectively. The DIMM, on the other hand, measures from 1.67 to 5.25 inches in length and from 1 to 1.75 inches in width due to the many available RAM configurations.
Data support: SIMM pins can only handle 32-bit data, which was enough for early computers. The emergence of Synchronous DRAM, or SDRAM, required a 64-bit data connection between the memory modules and the motherboard.
This development led to the usage of two SIMM modules to handle the transfer volume. The DIMM, however, can take a 64-bit data transfer, effectively edging out SIMM modules.
Modern RAMs use DIMMs, and they come in different types.
Types Of RAM
There are two kinds of random-access memory – static random-access memory (SRAM) and dynamic random-access memory (DRAM).
Static Random-access Memory (SRAM)
SRAM requires a constant power supply to function. SRAM does not require’ refreshing’ to remember the data it stores because of the continuous power supply, hence the name ‘static.’
It preserves data without the need for any changes or actions like refreshing. SRAM is a volatile memory, meaning that it loses data once there’s no more power flow.
Lower power consumption and higher access rates are two advantages of adopting SRAM over DRAM. However, SRAM has fewer memory capacities and higher production costs than DRAM.
Dynamic Random-access Memory
DRAM requires regular power ‘refresh’ to work. The capacitors in DRAM that store data gradually lose energy.
So, if there is no energy, data loss occurs, hence the name dynamic: keeping data intact requires constant change or action like refreshing.
DRAM is also a volatile memory, meaning that it loses data when the system loses power.
Lower production costs and higher memory capacities are two advantages of DRAM over SRAM. Slower access speeds and higher power consumption are the drawbacks of DRAM over SRAM.
Several kinds of DRAM have evolved over the years. In the nineties, we had the Extended Data Out (EDO) RAM and its variants – the Burst EDO or the BEDO RAM.
These memory types were appealing because of their enhanced performance and efficiency. However, they have now become obsolete following the advent of the Synchronous DRAM (SDRAM).
The Synchronous DRAM (SDRAM)
SDRAM is a type of DRAM that runs in lockstep with the CPU clock, meaning it waits for the clock signal before reacting to data (e.g., user interface).
DRAM, on the other hand, is asynchronous, meaning it reacts to data input instantaneously. However, the synchronous operation offers the advantage of allowing a CPU to execute concurrent instructions in parallel, a process known as ‘pipelining.’
SDRAM enables the CPU to read new instructions even before it has processed the preceding one.
Although pipelining does not affect the time to process instructions, it enables the CPU to complete more instructions simultaneously. Higher total CPU transfer and performance rates arise from processing one read and write instruction every clock cycle.
SDRAM can facilitate pipelining because it has different memory banks, and this is why many people prefer it over conventional DRAM.
There are two types of SDRAM – single data rate (SDR) SDRAM and double data rate (DDR) SDRAM.
The memory’s “single data rate” describes how it handles one simultaneous read and write instruction every clock cycle.
DDR SDRAM is twice as fast as SDR SDRAM. DDR SDRAM can process two read and two write commands per clock cycle (thus the name).
Physically, they differ in form factor. While the DDR SDRAM has 184 pins and features only one notch, the SDR DRAM has 168 pins with two gaps on its connector.
The DDR SDRAM requires a lower standard voltage than the SDR SDRAM, eliminating backwards compatibility.
DDR2 SDRAM is the next step in the DDR SDRAM progression. DDR2 SDRAM is quicker because it can run at higher clock speeds, although it has the same data rate of two simultaneous reads and writes instructions per clock cycle.
DDR3 and DDR4 also come with improvements in power consumption, processing power, and memory capacity.
In conclusion, random-access memory is the temporal storage site for operating systems and running programs.
Memory slots connect the RAM chips on the motherboard. These slots attach to the motherboard via metallic pins that vary according to the memory module or chips installed.
There are different types of memory modules, and each type has several pins specific to it. To find out the number of pins your RAM has, first find out the type of memory module installed on your motherboard.
Modern memory modules are usually subsets of 64-bit double in-line memory modules (DIMM).