RAM, short for online access, can be considered the workspace of your computer system. Whenever you open a file for viewing or editing, your system creates a temporary instance of this file in your RAM so that you can work with it. When you save a file, your system copies it to a more stable and non-volatile space, called persistent memory. Not only this, when you run the program, your operating system and RAM are the environment on which it runs. When you are looking for a high-performance computing system, you need a good balance of RAM of adequate size.
When using Debian, we come across many scenarios where RAM is a huge factor. We want to know how much RAM is installed in our system, how much of it we can use, whether it is free from errors and much more.
In this article, we will talk about what you can do with installed RAM through the Debian command line:
- Check installed, used and available RAM
- Check the type and speed of your installed RAM
- Check the installed RAM for errors
We followed the command and procedures mentioned in this article for the Debian 10 Buster system.
Remarks: We will use the Debian, Terminal command line to explain the above tasks. You can open the Terminal application by pressing the Super key (Windows) and performing a search in the Application Launcher as follows:
How to check installed, used and available RAM
The easiest way to check memory statistics in your Debian is to use the free command:
This is how you use the free command:
This command is used to check the memory usage and exchange on your system in several lines. Without using any switch, the displayed output is printed in kilobytes.
However, the best approach is to use the -h switch so that the free command displays memory and swap usage in the format of the nearest three-digit characters.
$ free -h
The “Mem” part displays information about the RAM of your system. The “Total Amount” column shows the total amount of RAM installed on your system. The used and available columns indicate the amount of RAM used by your system and the amount of available GB for use, respectively.
How to check the type and speed of RAM
Before explaining how to check the type and speed of your RAM, let’s first determine what they both mean:
- Type: RAM these days comes in many profiles based on data and data rate. These include the older SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), DDR1 (DDR SDRAM), DDR2, DDR3 and modern DDR4. For portable RAM systems, there are types of DRAM and SDRAM.
- Speed: When we talk about the speed of RAM in MHz or GHz, we consider clock frequencies. A cycle means one read and write session. RAM speed means how many cycles per second it can execute. 3200 MHz RAM can execute 3200 cycles (read / write) in one second
You can use the following command as sudo to check your RAM type
$ sudo dmidecode --type memory | less
The system will ask you for the sudo password, and then display the following information:
Scroll down and find the type of RAM in the output, as highlighted above. As you can see, DDR3 is installed on my laptop.
Using the same command, you can also view the clock frequency of your RAM:
The above conclusion shows that 1333 MHz of RAM is installed in my system.
You can use the q key to exit this output.
How to check RAM for errors using the MemTester utility
Because RAM is a fragile device, its semiconductors can collide. This may affect the performance of your shared RAM. You can use MemTester to check your RAM for errors.
To install this utility, open the Terminal application and enter the following command to first update the repository index on your system with the Internet repository index. This ensures that the latest available software version can be installed on your system.
$ sudo apt-get update
Then use the following apt-get command to install memtester.
$ sudo apt-get install memtester
This is the use of the memtester command:
$ memtester [-p physaddrbase [-d device]]
The following command will check 200 MB of RAM in two iterations:
$ sudo memtester 200M 2
This is what the test result looks like.
The conclusion showed that I have no errors in my RAM. Fortunately, as far as I sometimes use my laptop.
However, there is one limitation of this command: you can only scan RAM to the size of free RAM on your system. The memtest86 + utility in the GRUB boot menu is something you can use to thoroughly test your RAM.
So these were a few commands with which you could learn all about the RAM installed on your Debian system. You also learned how to use memtest to make sure your memory is working optimally.
How to check installed RAM on Debian 10