Logical Memory and Virtual Memory
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Logical Memory and Virtual Memory

Logical Memory Logical memory enables the user to use large amount of memory to store data. It defines way to organize the physical memory such as RAM and cache. This enables the Operating System to arrange memory into a logical manner such as assigning a logical address. Virtual Memory Virtual memory is a part of the hard disk which is used as a memory. It has a set of memory addresses and stores the instructions or the data.

Logical Memory

Logical memory enables the user to use large amount of memory to store data. It defines way to organize the physical memory such as RAM and cache. This enables the Operating System to arrange memory into a logical manner such as assigning a logical address. Logical address is a memory location and it is accessed by an application program. The system maps the logical address to real physical storage address. During the execution of the program, same logical address can be mapped to many different physical addresses.

Logical Memory Organization

The computer's main memory is divided into different categories such as conventional, upper and extended memory based on the motherboard, CPU and the Operating System.

It is essential to understand how the computers use these memories efficiently.

Conventional Memory

Size of the conventional memory is 640 KB and it is used by the Disk Operating System (DOS) and other programs such as WordStar, Lotus etc. This memory is also called DOS Memory or BASE Memory. DOS cannot use more than 640 KB for most of its work.

Upper Memory

Upper Memory-of High DOS Memory lies between 640 KB and 1 MB area. There are many empty memory locations in this area that are not used by a PC. 386 or higher processor can map these empty locations to some real memory area and use them for storing small driver or memory resident programs.

Extended Memory

The memory area lies above 1 MB limit is called Extended Memory. Extended Memory is available in 286 and later processor based computers. 286 processors can support extended memory up to 16 MB and 386 processors can support up to 4 GB. The extended memory is not much useful for the DOS users as DOS doesn't know how to use this memory area. But, for Windows and OS/2 user this memory is very useful as these operating systems can use extended memory. The user can view the memory details by typing "mem" command in the command prompt.

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Virtual Memory

Virtual memory is a part of the hard disk which is used as a memory. It has a set of memory addresses and stores the instructions or the data. When the processor executes the instructions, it converts the virtual memory addresses into real memory addresses. The main use of the virtual memory is to increase the address space.

Suppose, an instruction uses the whole virtual memory area then the processor copies the essential data from the virtual memory to the main memory. Rest of the data remains in virtual memory only. The operating system divides the virtual memory into pages. This help copy virtual memory into real memory. Each page contains a fixed number of memory addresses. The hard disk stores these pages.

Virtual memory is also used by the computer to compensate for an over taxed RAM. If your computer is low on RAM, it will use the hard drive space as memory called virtual memory. If this happens continually and starts to slow your computer processes down, it might be time to increase your RAM memory.

You can do this by buying more RAM chips. Most computers can have their RAM increased by buying an increase in RAM and either putting the chips in yourself or having a local computer shop do it for you. Some programs will use more RAM than others, so make sure you know what is running on your computer, and if you find your computer is slowing down too much, use the task manager to shut down unused programs.

You may also be interested in

Types of memory packages

Upgrading the memory

Flash Memory

Installing Memory

cache memory

Memory specifications

Types of DRAM

Dual In-Line Memory Module (DIMM)

Double Data Rate Synchronous DRAM (DDR-SDRAM)

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