In this issue of “In Layman’s Terms”, let’s have a look at some terms related to system graphics and performance.


RAM refers to Random Access Memory. Unlike the memory format you’d see in a hard drive, Random Access Memory is not persistent- that is, data stored in RAM vanishes once the power is cut to a computer- it only ‘holds’ data while the power is on. It’s mostly used to run programs on a computer, as data generally cannot be stored in RAM for any extended period of time.

In terms of RAM, there are several different classifications. DDR(which stands for Double Data Rate) is the oldest, and slowest, while DDR4 is the newest, and fastest. That’s really all you need to know as far as a basic understanding of RAM is concerned.

Core Clock Speed

Core clock speed relates to how a processor in a system interacts with the rest of the computer. Essentially, it’s a measurement of how many ‘instructions’ the processor can execute in a typical cycle- a cycle being one nanosecond. In the context of clock speed, an instruction is a simple, basic computer command. For the time being, that’s really all you need to know.

Now, a processor with a core clock speed of 700 Megahertz is capable of executing seven hundred million instructions in a single second. I’m not really certain there’s any suitable analogy that works for core clock speed, so the definition I’ve given you is going to have to suffice.

Memory Clock Speed

Not surprisingly, memory clock speed in a graphics card is related to core clock speed. While Core Clock Speed is a measurement of how many instructions the processor can send out in a nanosecond, memory clock speed refers to how many bits of data can be allocated into the processor’s memory with each cycle.

Basically, if the core clock speed is a measurement of how many instructions the processor can send out, the memory clock speed is a measurement of how fast these instructions reach their intended destination.


GDDR5 is a special type of Random Access Memory that’s specifically designed for graphical operations. Whereas RAM might be used for a wide range of applications- for example, running an internet browser or instant messaging software- GDDR5 memory is used exclusively for graphics.

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