random access memory
When you run an application like Microsoft Word, the program is called up from its permanent storage area (like the hard drive, floppy disk, or CD-ROM) and moved into the RAM, where it sends requests to the CPU. Using the faster PC100 memory preferred by 350-, 400-, and 450-MHz Pentium II processors means your information spends less time in line before being processed. (PC100 chips are rated to perform at bus speeds up to 100 MHz.) Your computer should have as much RAM as you can afford so it can work efficiently. It also pays to have lots of memory in your system because some operating systems, including Windows 95 and 98, swap applications from memory to your hard drive when the RAM gets filled. That means that instead of having your speedy RAM sending out requests, the OS sends the work to be done by the much slower hard drive.