In this article, we will figure out whether the computer will start without RAM. We will answer such questions as whether a computer or laptop can turn on without RAM, whether they can work without it, and what will happen if you start a PC or laptop without RAM. To understand this, you need to know
principle of operation of computer systems
The structure of modern computing systems involves dividing them into specialized blocks
- Computing unit – processor (CPU or central processing unit).
- A block of long-term information storage (conventional hard drives – HDD or modern solid state drives – SSD).
- Block of short-term storage of information (RAM, cache).
- Data input-output block (keyboard, monitor).
Random access memory (RAM) or random access memory, is block number 3, and is designed for short-term storage of data during their processing. It is activated when the computer is turned on and resets when it is turned off.
The absence of any of these blocks, including RAM, makes the full operation of the computer impossible.
what is the purpose of RAM in Computer?
During operation, part of the RAM is captured by the operating system that controls the computer. The OS kernel is located in this part, and the dynamic libraries necessary for operation are loaded into it. The RAM contains utility programs for controlling peripheral devices (drivers) and user applications. The RAM contains data and a cache of programs that the user is currently working with.
Accessing RAM during computer startup
After turning on the device, the control is transferred to the basic input/output system (BIOS), which is located in the non-volatile memory chip (ROM). The BIOS performs a POST-test, that is, it analyzes itself, the structure of the PC, and the presence or absence of individual key components, including the presence, serviceability, and available amount of RAM.
If the RAM is not physically installed or is faulty, then the BIOS will give a beep (beep) and stop the boot process.
will a computer boot to bios without ram?
Most BIOSes do not require external RAM for their work and are launched anyway when power is applied. But on some motherboards, an architecture is implemented in which the BIOS is pre-deployed in the upper RAM addresses, and only then receives control.
With such an organization of the startup process, diagnostics of the presence/integrity of RAM before deployment is not performed and a BIOS checksum error occurs, which could not locate itself in the missing RAM.
- in the first version, the BIOS will start without RAM, and a standard system window will be displayed on the monitor. The keyboard will function, and you can check the settings and see the main parameters of the system unit;
- in the second option, the basic input/output system, and hence the user interface, will not start. No information will be displayed on the monitor, the keyboard will not function.
From the user’s point of view, the computer will turn on, and immediately “freeze”, while the processor and power supply cooling fans will work.
what happens if you turn on a pc without ram?
In modern processors, the internal cache of the second and third levels has tens of megabytes. Theoretically, it is possible to write a program that resides on flash memory and uses the processor’s cache instead of traditional RAM in its work.
For the user interface, you will have to use non-standard methods for processing the input and output of data, since existing operating systems do not work without RAM. This approach requires a deep knowledge of programming at a low level.
If RAM is not installed or damaged in the computer, then in most cases it can be turned on for diagnostics, while an image of the testing procedure will be displayed on the monitor. In some cases, the computer will “freeze”. A computer without RAM will start, but it will not function properly without it.