We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Internal RAM?

By Al Heurung
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Internal random access memory (RAM) is computer memory that is built directly into the chip of a microcontroller, such as a computer’s central processing unit (CPU). It can be used by programmers to increase the speed of program functions by directly addressing internal RAM, ensuring that critical processes are queued and processed faster and at higher priority by the CPU. This can greatly speed up processor-intensive applications because frequently used instructions can be passed to the CPU much faster than drawing them from external ram.

CPUs have three levels of cache, or internal RAM. Processor cache is comprised of static RAM (SRAM), which is not the same as the typical memory installed on the motherboard, called dynamic RAM (DRAM). When the CPU looks for data, it checks first the Level 1 (L1) cache, then Level 2 (L2), then Level 3 (L3). Only after that will it pull data from the DRAM.

Within the processor, L1 cache is assigned to every core on the processor itself. This is the fastest internal RAM, because it acts as the buffer for instructions handed to each processor core as dictated by the program requesting processing. In multi-core processors, this can substantially speed processing if multiple cores are addressed individually through L1 cache requests.

The L2 cache is in the CPU package and thus is still considered internal RAM. It is not built directly onto the actual CPU chip as L1 cache is. Each core still has its own L2 cache dedicated to it and thus can operate in parallel, taking advantage of the L2 speeds. L2 cache is slower than L1 cache, however.

L3 cache is not within the CPU package, so it is not considered internal RAM but instead functions alongside it. It is the fastest external RAM available within a computer. All CPU cores share the L3 cache.

The entire process can be viewed as a queueing and breaking down of data from external DRAM, to internal RAM and finally to the actual processing instructions. Certain functions within any program are established at a higher priority than others, and those are moved to the front of the queue as part of the individual program’s optimization. The highest priority data is addressed directly to L1 cache for fastest processing, and the lowest priority queues through the entire process. The main difference is where cache is processed in a “pull from the waiting queue” method, internal RAM is software addressable, so data can be specifically assigned to individual internal RAM levels.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By David09 — On Dec 11, 2011

@MrMoody - Gamers know a lot more about memory RAM types than the average Joe, from what I’ve seen. They’re always trying to tweak the maximum amount of performance from their computers, putting them on the bleeding edge so to speak.

There’s probably more to it than L1 cache sizes and how much RAM you’re getting if you’re a gamer, I would think. Unfortunately I am not up on the latest technology. I just use productivity applications on my computer so blazing speed is not a priority for me.

By MrMoody — On Dec 10, 2011

@Charred - It would be interesting to know how the computer identifies priority levels for the instructions, since this determines what data get pushed to the all powerful L1 cache first.

My guess is that the mathematical functions of a software program get high priority status since they require calculations, and they are therefore moved to the front of the line so to speak. Other functions, like parsing text or things which don’t require speed, probably get shuffled to the back of the line.

By Charred — On Dec 10, 2011

@NathanG - Yeah, not all types of RAM are the same. However, I will say that motherboard RAM is more useful because it’s the kind of RAM that is memory addressable by software.

I had a friend who, back in the early days of the computer revolution, kept adding more and more RAM to his computer so that he wouldn’t need a hard drive.

He just loaded the software into RAM, and left his computer on all the time. That’s a dangerous thing to do, of course, because if the computer shuts down you lose all the software and any data with it.

However, that’s what he did for the longest time. Nowadays there’s no point to do anything like that because all storage types, whether memory or hard disks or flash drives, are incredibly cheap.

By NathanG — On Dec 09, 2011

Cached memory RAM is very important as the article points out. However, I think that most consumers don’t know that there are different types of RAM and therefore are unaware of internal RAM.

Consequently they don’t look for L1 cache when they buy a new computer. They want a computer with the fastest processor and the largest amount of RAM, meaning by that the motherboard (SRAM) mentioned in the article.

However, cache RAM increases your processor instruction speed; it’s like defragmenting your hard drive so that it minimizes your “read” operations to get the data you need.

As a result, you want to get a computer with the largest amount of cache memory that you can get. This number should be listed along with the other specifications on the box.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.