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What Is a Memory Bank?

A stick of RAM, a type of memory.
Two flash memory chips.
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  • Written By: Andrew Kirmayer
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2014
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A memory bank is the part of every computer that stores and allows access to data. Memory modules and strips can also be referred to as banks, but a true memory bank is built for timely and logical data access. Each logical unit of storage is arranged into a consecutive configuration so that all data can be accessed quickly. Modern computers have high memory capacities, so it is important to have a system that can reach important data with little wait time.

Operating system tasks and operations conducted by various programs benefit from a memory bank that logically organizes data. Computer memory is highly influenced by its internal structure. Random Access Memory (RAM) is designed with the appropriate memory geometry depending on what application it is being used for. A dual in-line memory module (DIMM) is commonly found in desktop computers, while small outline dual in-line memory modules (SO-DIMM) are built into laptops, printers, as well as small, embedded computers.

Interleaved memory is another format for a memory bank. It allows for data to be accessed even faster by putting specific components of memory in the same place across a series of chips. Data can be retrieved across parallel strips instead of being indexed all on one chip. This makes a memory chipset much more efficient, which is important for computers to keep up with the demands of high-speed multimedia applications.

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A memory bank and RAM in general are very different than the space on a hard disk. Access to data is controlled by the output of electrical charges instead of a magnetic disk that requires information to be sought out. Data that is stored in RAM is erased once the power is turned off, but it is possible to have a memory bank that holds on to information without a power source. This is called flash memory, which is also known as electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM). A lot of small devices, such as portable music players and digital cameras, have this kind of memory.

The interaction of memory bank components is important to how a computer or device functions. For computer memory in general, this means more than just having a logical unit of storage in one place for later access. The configuration and structure of the memory bank is just as important as how much memory can be stored in a computer system.

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