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Inside the Machine by Jon Stokes

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RAM: When Registers Alone Won't Cut It

Obviously, four (or even eight) registers aren’t even close to the theoretically infinite storage space I mentioned earlier in this chapter. In order to make a viable computer that does useful work, you need to be able to store very large data sets. This is where the computer’s main memory comes in. Main memory, which in modern computers is always some type of random access memory (RAM), stores the data set on which the computer operates, and only a small portion of that data set at a time is moved to the registers for easy access from the ALU (as shown in Figure 1-4).

A computer with a register file

Figure 1-4. A computer with a register ...

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