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Chapter 1. Hardware Basics for the Absol... > Computer Memory: Temporary Storage

Computer Memory: Temporary Storage

Before your CPU can process any instructions you give it, those instructions must be stored somewhere, in preparation for access by the microprocessor. These instructions—along with other data processed by your system—are temporarily held in the computer's random access memory (RAM). All computers have some amount of memory, which is created by a number of memory chips. The more memory that is available in a machine, the more instructions and data that can be stored at one time.

Memory is measured in terms of bytes. One byte is equal to approximately one character in a word processing document. A unit equaling approximately one thousand bytes (1,024, to be exact) is called a kilobyte (KB), and a unit of approximately one thousand (1,024) kilobytes is called a megabyte (MB). A thousand megabytes is a gigabyte (GB).


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