Unified Memory vs Ram: What are the Major Differences?

Confused between Unified Memory vs Ram?

In this article, I’ll discuss the differences between Unified Memory and RAM.

Here, we’ll look at what they both do, why you would choose one over the other, and how they differ from each other.

Unified Memory vs Ram
Unified Memory vs Ram

Unified Memory vs Ram

Unified Memory is a technology that combines RAM and storage into one integrated unit. It’s faster than traditional RAM but also more expensive.

RAM stands for random access memory, a computer component that temporarily stores information as you work on your PC. This temporary storage keeps the data running smoothly and quickly, so your computer doesn’t slow down or crash.

What Is RAM (Random Access Memory)

RAM is a type of memory used by the computer’s processor to store data and instructions while the computer is on.

It’s important to note that RAM is volatile, which means it loses its data when the computer is turned off.

What is Apple’s Unified Memory?

Apple's unified memory M1 chip
Apple’s unified memory M1 chip

What Apple’s Unified Memory is all about is cost reduction. But, they’re going to sell it whatever way they can.

Their Unified Memory model sends the GPU, Neural Processor, and all the CPUs through standard LPDDR4 channels. All of the Apple M1 on-die hardware shares bandwidth when accessing the on-package 16GB of LPDDR4.

If I’m not mistaken, the total LPDDR4 bandwidth available to M1 is 128 bits × 4267MT/s = ~68 GB/sec total memory bandwidth.

On a traditional PC with a discrete video card and separate memory pools for CPU and GPU, you’ll see a much higher total memory bandwidth.

Where does Apple’s Unified Memory win? It wins when you have a workload that requires high bandwidth and tightly coupled communication between CPU and GPU.

Most of the time, the two have disjoint working sets. I don’t think tightly-coupled, high bandwidth communication between CPU and GPU is the norm. Maybe MacOS differs in that regard.


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How do they work?

Unlike RAM, Unified Memory will not lose data when the computer is turned off. Instead of being volatile like RAM, Unified Memory uses non-volatile memory (NVM) technology to keep your data intact when your device is powered down.

NVM has a similar speed as DRAM but with better endurance and less power consumption.

Unified Memory Advantages and Disadvantages


Unified memory is the future of computing. It allows for faster processing and is more cost-effective than RAM.

Unified memory is the future of computing. It’s more cost-effective and allows for faster processing times than traditional RAM.


Unified Memory is significantly more expensive than RAM. While most of the cost of RAM is based on its speed and capacity, Unified Memory adds another layer to this equation.

This is because, with unified memory, you’ll be paying for much more than speed and capacity. You’re also paying for convenience and ease of use—that’s why it’s so expensive!

In addition to being more costly than regular old RAM, your PC may not even be able to use Unified Memory if it doesn’t have specific hardware requirements (like an Intel processor). And while this hardware requirement could eventually change as the technology becomes more mainstream, there are currently no plans to make such changes in the immediate future.

You should also remember that dedicated video cards can be used as primary or secondary graphics cards (for example, GPUs in SLI).

They cannot act as both primary and secondary GPUs simultaneously without using some trickery that involves two separate graphics cards running on one motherboard; doing so would require too much power consumption, reducing battery life during mobile gaming sessions by 50% or 75%.

RAM: Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of RAM

  • RAM is faster than Unified Memory
  • RAM is more expensive than Unified Memory
  • RAM is more reliable than Unified Memory

Disadvantages of RAM

RAM is volatile, which means that information stored in RAM will be lost when power ceases to flow. If you turn off your computer or laptop, the data stored in RAM will be gone.

However, there are ways to save some of your work before turning off the computer. For example, you can save your work on a USB drive or hard drive and leave it attached to the computer so that when you restart and boot up your system again, all those saved files will still be waiting for you.

The same thing goes with laptops: if they’re plugged into an outlet that provides power, then they’ll still have access to those essential files, but if they aren’t connected, then everything will have been erased from memory.

Another disadvantage of using RAM is its high price compared with other types of storage like flash drives (SSDs), HDDs, or even optical discs like CDs/DVDs, which may cost less than $100 per TB ($100 = 1 terabyte = 1000 gigabytes).

While this might not sound like much compared to what you used 20 years ago, where HDDs were around $2 per GB ($2 = 0.002 terabytes = 020 gigabytes).

It’s still quite expensive, considering how little space you need nowadays. Technological advancements allow us more flexibility when working on projects such as video editing software programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2019!


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Unified Memory vs Ram: Major Differences

Unified Memory vs Ram: Pricing

When deciding between RAM and unified memory, cost plays an important role.

As a result of its superior speed and storage capacity, unified memory often costs more than RAM.

However, price differences between unified memory and RAM can shift based on the individual types being compared.

Unified Memory vs Ram: Format

These random access memory (RAM) sticks are made of many memory cells soldered onto a printed circuit board. DIMM is standardized by JEDEC, an semiconductor industry group, and comes in a wide range of sizes and shapes, making it well-suited for desktop computers and portable devices.

Memory access technology (RAM) is built into the system-on-chip (SoC) in unified memory architectures like Apple’s M1. Instead of separate systems and GPU memory, it is delivered as unified modules with a maximum capacity of 64GB.

Unified Memory vs Ram: Volatility

RAM is considered volatile memory, which will be deleted during a power outage.

Unlike RAM, unified memory retains its information even when the power is turned off.

Your data will remain completely safe if a blackout or other power disruption occurs.

Unified Memory vs Ram: Capacity

The size of the supplied RAM module establishes the maximum amount of system RAM and visual RAM. Expanding the amount of RAM and, thus, the operating efficiency and speed is possible.

On the other hand, if you want to boost the GPU’s memory, you’ll need to upgrade to a new GPU card with more onboard VRAM.

By sharing a single memory pool, the graphics processing unit (GPU) and the central processing unit (CPU) can easily add more RAM as needed.

For seamless, quick performance that can keep up with demand increases, the pooled memory amount must support all CPU components generously. They are not restricted to RAM of a specific size.

Unified Memory vs Ram: Speed

Software installed on your PC can only function properly with sufficient storage for temporary files and data. Your computer may run more slowly if you don’t have enough RAM or if you frequently use a lot of it.

Any CPU part can use more memory because they share the same pool. The bus has more capacity, allowing faster data transfer to the central processing unit. In addition, it avoids the waiting time often associated with using a hard disk.

Because of the streamlined interaction between all of the constituent parts and the shared memory, a welcome speed boost is achieved.


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I hope this article helped answer any questions you might have had about RAM vs unified memory.

If you need more information on this topic, please contact us via the comments below; I will be happy to assist!

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