Stands for "Dynamic Random Access Memory." DRAM is a type of RAM that stores each bit of data on a separate capacitor. This is an efficient way to store data in memory, because it requires less physical space to store the same amount of data than if it was stored statically. Therefore, a DRAM chip can hold more data than an SRAM (static RAM) chip of the same size can. However, the capacitors in DRAM need to constantly be refreshed to keep their charge, so DRAM requires more power than SRAM.
Still, because DRAM can hold more data than SRAM and because it is significantly less expensive to manufacture, DRAM is the most common type of memory found in personal computer systems. While there are many types of DRAM available, the most common type is synchronous DRAM SDRAM, which is a faster version of standard DRAM. This is the type of memory most computers use for their main system memory.
If you choose to upgrade your computer's SDRAM, check your machine's requirements to see if the memory modules must be installed in pairs. If so, you will need to replace two modules at once and they must be the same size (i.e. two 1GB SDRAM memory modules).
Updated: February 9, 2007