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In your computer, there are likely two types of RAM class memory. Only one is referred to as RAM: the system memory or system RAM. This class of RAM is called DRAM. In this class, you may also have some SSDs with integrated DRAM. The VRAM on a graphics card is also a subset of DRAM. You’ll have a different type of RAM on the actual CPU and GPU dies themselves. SRAM is used for on-die caches.
SRAM is speedy. However, it is not particularly dense in terms of gigabytes per square centimeter, which also contributes to its high price. DRAM is slower. However, it has a much higher storage density and is much cheaper. For this reason, SRAM is used in small quantities on processor dies as high-speed memory, and DRAM is used for larger memory pools like the ones described above.
The distinction between SRAM and DRAM is evident in their actual structure. SRAM uses four to six transistors, while DRAM uses a single transistor and a capacitor. This is where the storage density comparison comes in. There are simply fewer parts in DRAM, making each memory cell smaller.
The design differences have another effect, however, one large enough to be the titular naming factor of the two. The S in SRAM stands for Static, while the D in DRAM stands for Dynamic. This represents that SRAM can retain its contents indefinitely, while DRAM needs to be regularly refreshed.
Note: This assumes that a constant power supply is available. SRAM is still volatile memory, and if power is lost, it will lose the data it holds. Just like DRAM.What Is a Memory Refresh?
The circuit-level architecture of DRAM means that the charge of a memory cell decays over time. Each memory cell must be regularly refreshed to allow DRAM to store data for long periods. There are a couple of essential things to know about this. The first is that the memory can’t be accessed while refreshed. This also means that performance can be limited by how often the DRAM cells need refreshing.
Generally, DRAM cells are refreshed every 64 milliseconds, though this halves at high temperatures. Each row of cells is refreshed independently to prevent this from happening all at once, causing a significant hiccup every 64 milliseconds.
Cleverly the memory controller also times refresh cycles to occur while the RAM module does other things that prevent it from reading or writing memory, such as transmitting read data. Thankfully, the amount of time needed to refresh a cell is small, generally 75 or 120 nanoseconds. This means a DRAM chip spends roughly 0.4% to 5% of its time performing a refresh operation.How to Refresh DRAM
All this happens automatically. The memory controller manages it all without the CPU being aware of it.Outliers
DRAM charge does decay, but research has shown that the rate varies wildly between DRAM cells, even on a single chip. The top percent or so may be able to hold their data for up to 50 seconds without needing a refresh at standard temperatures. 90% can store data for 10 seconds, 99% for three seconds, and 99.9% for one second.
Unfortunately, some outliers need to be refreshed much more often. To allow for even the worst-case scenarios, DRAM refresh times are low. This choice does ensure that no data is ever lost, but it also affects power usage and performance.
Some researchers have proposed alternative methods of analyzing and binning the RAM cells and prefer using the ones with better decay times. This would lead to improved power usage, especially useful on low-power battery-powered devices. It would also, however, lead to variable levels of RAM performance.
Additionally, the change in decay time based on temperature would have to be factored in. Even worse, some cells simply lose charge retention performance occasionally, meaning relying on this too much could sometimes result in a presumed good memory cell being bad, requiring regular rebinning.Conclusion
The refresh cycle is the process in DRAM modules by which the memory cells are refreshed. This is necessary because the circuit design of DRAM results in charge decay. Regularly refreshing memory cells prevents data loss. SRAM doesn’t need to be refreshed as its circuit design does not result in a charge drain.
Note: Refresh cycle may also refer to a user or organization’s regular updating of hardware.
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original Razer Phone‘s 120Hz screen was primarily aimed at gamers, but the technology has rapidly spread to countless consumer-focused devices. With the exception of Apple’s iPhone, you’d now be hard-pressed to find a flagship with a 60Hz display, while handsets as cheap as the £199 Poco X3 have a 120Hz panel.
Logic suggests that laptops will be the next major form factor to embrace high refresh rates. Again, gaming devices have been the early adopters here, sporting displays all the way up to 300Hz. It feels like only a matter of time before this filters its way to everyday consumer devices.
However, we might have to be patient. The coronavirus pandemic has sent demand for laptops skyrocketing, and even now the education sector is reporting shortages of suitable devices for homeschooling. With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see manufacturers prioritise solid performance and a portable design over these sorts of embellishments.
At CES 2023, Lenovo launched one of what is only a handful of consumer-focused high refresh rate laptops to make it to market. The Yoga Slim 7i Pro has a 90Hz display, Intel 11th-gen chips and the option for a discrete Nvidia GPU, but a price to match – it’s likely to cost in excess of £1000.Why we haven’t seen more high refresh rate laptops
Aside from customer demand, the other big factor is price. Put simply, it still costs a lot more to include a high refresh rate display over one at 60Hz. That’s why the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and Acer Predator Helios 300 start at £1,099 and £1,299 respectively.
Traditionally, high refresh rate laptops have had a tendency to reduce colour accuracy and contrast in the display. That may have left some manufacturers reluctant to embrace the technology, but the strength of the Razer Blade Stealth screen has shown that you don’t necessarily need to make these sacrifices.
The Razer Blade Stealth 13 has a 120Hz display
As with its phones, Apple looks to have taken a different approach. The new M1 chip on its MacBook laptops (such as the new Air) delivers big improvements to performance and power efficiency, two areas that are likely to be more noticeable day-to-day. The company hasn’t shunned the technology completely – it is on the iPad Pro, after all – so don’t rule out high refresh rate Apple laptops in the near future.High refresh rate or OLED?
Aside from processing power, the display is one of the most common ways to distinguish a premium laptop from its more affordable siblings. The dearth of high refresh rate consumer laptops mean you’ll likely be choosing between this and an OLED screen.
Both are ‘nice to have’ rather than a necessity on an everyday laptop for productivity, but that changes if you’d also like to use it for consuming content or gaming. The rich colours and deep blacks of an OLED will provide noticeable gains when watching movies or TV shows, but gamers will appreciate the extra smoothness a high refresh rate display offers.
OLED displays still haven’t come to budget laptops, though, so you’ll probably be paying four figures either way.Samsung might be leading the way
Should high refresh rate laptops become the norm, it looks like Samsung is ahead of the game. As Business Wire reported, in January 2023 the Korean company began mass-producing 90Hz laptop screens, ahead of a presumed rollout to devices in the relatively near future.
This will likely begin with Samsung’s own hardware, like the next Galaxy Book Flex or Galaxy Book Ion, but we’d still expect to see more laptops adopt the technology in the near future.
High refresh rate consumer laptops might not be widely available just yet, but it feels like only a matter of time before they become the new industry standard.
Until that’s a reality, you’ll probably have to be content with 60Hz. For the pick of the market right now, check out our best laptop chart. If you really want to buy a high refresh rate laptop, many of the options in our best gaming laptop chart support 120Hz or more.
You may have decided on the refresh rate of your device, but have you considered the future for upgradeable laptops?
A conceptual framework illustrates the expected relationship between your variables. It defines the relevant objectives for your research process and maps out how they come together to draw coherent conclusions.
TipYou should construct your conceptual framework before you begin collecting your data. Conceptual frameworks are often represented in a visual format and illustrate cause-and-effect relationships. You can start conceptualizing this as you determine your relevant paper, thesis, or dissertation topic.
Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to help you construct your own conceptual framework.Developing a conceptual framework in research
A conceptual framework is a representation of the relationship you expect to see between your variables, or the characteristics or properties that you want to study.
Conceptual frameworks can be written or visual and are generally developed based on a literature review of existing studies about your topic.Step 1: Choose your research question
Your research question guides your work by determining exactly what you want to find out, giving your research process a clear focus.
Example: Research questionLet’s say you want to study whether students who study more hours get higher exam scores. To investigate this question, you can use methods such as an experiment or a survey to test the relationship between variables.
However, before you start collecting your data, consider constructing a conceptual framework. This will help you map out which variables you will measure and how you expect them to relate to one another.Step 2: Select your independent and dependent variables
In order to move forward with your research question and test a cause-and-effect relationship, you must first identify at least two key variables: your independent and dependent variables.
Example: VariablesFollowing our example:
The expected cause, “hours of study,” is the independent variable (the predictor, or explanatory variable)
The expected effect, “exam score,” is the dependent variable (the response, or outcome variable).
In other words, you suspect that “exam score” depends on “hours of study.” Thus, your hypothesis will be that the more hours a student studies, the better they will do on the exam.
Note that causal relationships often involve several independent variables that affect the dependent variable. For the purpose of this example, we’ll work with just one independent variable (“hours of study”).Step 3: Visualize your cause-and-effect relationship
Now that you’ve figured out your research question and variables, the first step in designing your conceptual framework is visualizing your expected cause-and-effect relationship.
We demonstrate this using basic design components of boxes and arrows. Here, each variable appears in a box. To indicate a causal relationship, each arrow should start from the independent variable (the cause) and point to the dependent variable (the effect).Step 4: Identify other influencing variables
It’s crucial to identify other variables that can influence the relationship between your independent and dependent variables early in your research process.
Some common variables to include are moderating, mediating, and control variables.Moderating variables
Moderating variable (or moderators) alter the effect that an independent variable has on a dependent variable. In other words, moderators change the “effect” component of the cause-and-effect relationship.
Example: ModeratorWe expect that the number of hours a student studies is related to their exam score—i.e., the more you prepare, the higher your score will be.
Let’s add the moderator “IQ.” Here, a student’s IQ level can change the effect that the variable “hours of study” has on the exam score. The higher the IQ, the fewer hours of study are needed to do well on the exam.
We expect that the “IQ” moderator moderates the effect that the number of study hours has on the exam score.
Let’s take a look at how this might work. The graph below shows how the number of hours spent studying affects exam score. As expected, the more hours you study, the better your results. Here, a student who studies for 20 hours will get a perfect score.
But the graph looks different when we add our “IQ” moderator of 120. A student with this IQ will achieve a perfect score after just 15 hours of study.
Below, the value of the “IQ” moderator has been increased to 150. A student with this IQ will only need to invest five hours of study in order to get a perfect score.
Here, we see that a moderating variable does indeed change the cause-and-effect relationship between two variables.Mediating variables
Now we’ll expand the framework by adding a mediating variable. Mediating variables link the independent and dependent variables, allowing the relationship between them to be better explained.
Example: MediatorThe mediating variable of “number of practice problems completed” comes between the independent and dependent variables.
Hours of study impacts the number of practice problems, which in turn impacts the exam score.
Here’s how the conceptual framework might look if a mediator variable were involved:
NoteKeep in mind that mediating variables can be difficult to interpret. Take care when drawing conclusions from them.Moderator vs. mediator
It’s important not to confuse moderating and mediating variables. To remember the difference, you can think of them in relation to the independent variable:
A moderating variable is not affected by the independent variable, even though it affects the dependent variable. For example, no matter how many hours you study (the independent variable), your IQ will not get higher.
A mediating variable is affected by the independent variable. In turn, it also affects the dependent variable. Therefore, it links the two variables and helps explain the relationship between them.Control variables
Lastly, control variables must also be taken into account. These are variables that are held constant so that they don’t interfere with the results. Even though you aren’t interested in measuring them for your study, it’s crucial to be aware of as many of them as you can be.
Example: Control variableIt is very possible that if a student feels ill, they will get a lower score on the exam. However, we are not interested in measuring health outcomes a part of our research.
This makes “health” a good candidate for a control variable. It still impacts our results, but we aren’t interested in studying it.Frequently asked questions about conceptual models Cite this Scribbr article
Swaen, B. & George, T. Retrieved July 17, 2023,
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A replay attack is a type of network assault in which an attacker discovers and fraudulently delays or repeats a data transaction. The sender or a hostile actor intercepts the data and retransmits it, causing the data transfer to be delayed or repeated. In other terms, a replay attack is a security protocol attack that uses replays of data transmission from a different sender into the intended receiving system to deceive the participants into believing the data communication was successful. Attackers can use replay assaults to gain access to a network, obtain information that would otherwise be unavailable, or execute a duplicate transaction.
If the replay attack is not mitigated, networks and computers that are subjected to it will see the attack process as valid communications.
Replaying a message sent to a network by an attacker that was previously sent by an authorised user is an example of a replay attack.
Despite the fact that the communications are encrypted and the attacker does not have access to the real keys, retransmission of legitimate data or login messages might assist them in gaining adequate network access.
By replicating an authentication message, a replay attack can get access to resources while also confusing the destination host.How Does a Replay Attack Work?
Take a look at this real-life assault scenario. By sending an encrypted message to the firm’s financial administrator, a corporate employee requests a money transfer. This communication is intercepted by an attacker, who captures it and may now resend it. The communication is already correctly encrypted and seems valid to the financial administrator since it is an authentic message that has merely been resend.
In this case, unless the financial administrator has cause to be suspicious, he or she is likely to react to the new request. A huge quantity of money might be sent to the attacker’s bank account as a retaliation.How to Prevent a Replay Attack?
Preventing such an attack is all about using the proper encryption technology. Encrypted communications contain “keys” that, when decoded at the conclusion of the transmission, open the message.
It makes no difference in a replay assault whether the attacker who intercepted the initial transmission can read or interpret the key. All he or she needs to do is capture and transmit the full thing, message and key included.
To mitigate this risk, both the sender and the recipient should generate a fully random session key, which is a sort of code that is only valid for one transaction and cannot be used again.
Using timestamps on all communications is another protective strategy for this sort of attack. It stops hackers from resending communications transmitted more than a particular amount of time ago, so narrowing the window of opportunity for an attacker to listen, syphon off the message, and resent it.
Another way to prevent being a victim is to use a unique password for each transaction, which is only used once and then destroyed. This guarantees that even if an attacker records and resends the communication, the encryption code has expired and is no longer functional.
“The server is down!”
“I can’t log into the server.”
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“The servers are at capacity.”
These are the sorts of phrases we hear on a daily basis when using the internet, but what exactly is a “server”. It’s one of those terms that everyone uses, but few people really know any details about.
There’s a good chance you found this article by typing “What is a server?” into a search engine. It’s nothing to be ashamed of! It’s an essential piece of knowledge any internet user should know and you’re about to get all the essential info right here.What the Internet ACTUALLY Is
The concept is actually pretty simple. The internet is simply a collection of computers connected together by communications hardware, such as routers and network cables.
Whenever you access a web page, watch a video or send an email, there’s another computer somewhere in the world that’s providing the content or acting as the go-between to help you communicate with someone else.What Is a Server vs a Client
These computers, the ones providing the SERVices, are what we generally refer to as “servers”. The computers that receive those services are called “clients”. See? It’s a pretty simple concept. Servers serve content and services to clients. However, that doesn’t tell us much about the servers themselves. Just what are they exactly?Servers are Just Computers
Any computer can be a server. Your home computer can be a server. Although your internet service provider probably prohibits the practice on home internet subscriptions. It’s not just traditional desktop computers either. Any network-connected computer can act as a server, client or both.
Rather than being a description of a specific device, the concepts of “client” and “server” describe roles that computers have on a network. For example, if you have an IP security camera, those have server software installed on its tiny embedded computer. When you access the camera, you’re logging into a server that provides you with a video stream.
That being said, not every computer is suitable to act as a server. So often when the word “server” is used, it refers to specialized computers that are built from the ground up to act specifically as servers.Server Hardware is Special
If you were to venture into the typical server room of a website hosting company, you’d see rows and rows of cabinets. Inside these cabinets, you’d see racks of servers stacked on top of each other. As seen in this picture.
Inside each of these racks, you’ll find a special server-grade motherboard, RAM, CPU and storage. In principle, these are the same components as the ones in your computer. Except, inside servers they’re far more powerful, reliable and energy efficient. After all, these computers are working 24/7, serving millions of requests from clients every day.
This is why server hardware is much more expensive than the stuff you find in a consumer PC. Every minute a server is down may cause thousands of dollars in losses. So it’s worth paying a premium to ensure that the internet services in question remain available.
We won’t go into deep details here, but server hardware stands out in the following main ways:
Server motherboards support large amounts of RAM. Terabytes worth in many cases!
Server motherboards often have multiple CPU sockets
Server CPUs tend to have many CPU cores and large amounts of cache
Server RAM is usually of a special error-correcting type to ensure stability
Server power supplies may be redundant, instantly switching over to a backup if the main unit fails
Rack servers also don’t have keyboards, mice, screens or speakers. Instead, they are accessed via the network through the command line or by using a remote desktop application. Although they usually do have the required ports to hook up these peripherals if needed.Local Servers
A “local” server is one that runs on your local home network, rather than somewhere “out there” on the internet.
There’s a good chance that you have some sort of server application running on one of your home computers and don’t even know it. The aforementioned IP camera embedded software is one example, but there are other applications that run on regular desktop and laptop systems that also fit the bill.
For example, the popular Plex application runs a media server on your local machine. This is like Netflix running on your local network. Calibre acts as a local file server for ebooks and, of course, network-attached storage devices are also a sort of local network server. So, as you can see, servers are everywhere. Even in your home!Common Server Types
While all servers have the same general job, there are clear subtypes of servers that specialize in different tasks.
Web servers are incredibly common. The website you are reading at this very moment was sent to you by a web server. Your web browser acts as the client and requests website data from the server. It then receives the HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) web page code and renders it to your screen. From there it enters your eyeballs and this information is now in your head. Neat, right?
File servers use the FTP or File Transfer Protocol standard rather than HTML and exist to move files from their own hard drives to yours.
Email servers handle the sending and receiving of email messages. Basically it’s an electronic post office.
The list goes on. There are servers that verify login details, servers that act as a proxy between company computers and the internet, media streaming servers at companies like Netflix and more. As more internet services are invented, we can expect new types of specialized server hardware and software to come along as time goes by.“Mainframe” vs “Server”
One final point of confusion is the difference between a “mainframe” computer and a server. While a server is essentially a beefed-up desktop computer, mainframes are an entirely different beast.
These computers are much, much more powerful than server hardware. The emphasis on reliability and spare processing capacity is much higher and these computers are usually used for jobs that are mission critical.
Online banking is one example where mainframes may be a better choice. Especially since mainframe computers are built to zip through as many “transactions” as possible. These computers are usually about the size of a large fridge. Often, they’re as big as ten rack-mounted servers.Are You Being Served?
Let’s look at how risk management actually works along with understanding properly what it is. We’ll also explore how to identify, assess and respond to project risks.What is Risk Management?
The Risk Management Process is a process for understanding what risks and opportunities your project or organization faces and how best to address them.Steps to Minimize Risk
Monitoring and reporting risksIdentifying Risks
Ensuring that a project’s objectives are met is the ultimate goal. To do this, it is important to identify all of the events that can affect it −
The financial trajectory of the project
Milestones of project
Scopes of project
Risk is characterized by five points− description, causes and consequences, qualitative assessment, quantitative assessment, and a mitigation plan. The person responsible for acting is central to determining whether or not a risk is valid. All three of these characteristics must be present to qualify as a risk.
To manage risks and opportunities effectively, they must be precise. The title must be succinct, self−explanatory, and clearly defined.
Who is responsible for identifying risks? Risk Managers are responsible for ensuring that everyone in the Risk and Opportunity has identified their risks and has the plan to deal with them. Good resources to use for identifying R&O −
Existing documentation analysis
Interviews with all the experts
It is often difficult to troubleshoot problems as they happened using standard methodologies such as Failure Modes, Effects, and Criticality Analysis (FMECA). Cause trees can help you see the underlying causes of your issues.
Looking at lessons learned from previous engagements in R&Os
You’ll want to use pre−established checklists and questionnaires covering the different areas of the project to help you make decisions. These can take the form of Risk Breakdown Structures or RBS.Assessing Risks
Qualitative and quantitative are two types of risks. Qualitative assessments determine the level of sensitivity based on an event’s probability and intensity. A quantitative assessment determines the financial impact or benefit of a particular event. Both are necessary for a complete evaluation of risks and opportunities.Qualitative assessments
The Risk Owner and Risk Manager will employ the project’s criticality scales to rank and prioritize risks and opportunities. These scales will help categorize each risk or opportunity by its occurrence probability and impact severity.Assessing the occurrence probability
The likelihood of making the deadline is based on various things that vary from project to project and is typically rated on a scale of 1−99.
For example, suppose it is 50% likely that− “supplier X will be incapable of conducting studies on modification Y by the end of 2025.” Feedback and analysis can tell you this.Quantitative assessments
Quantitative risk assessments are the best way to measure financial risk. The financial sector deals with numbers − money, numbers, interest rates, or any other data point that is critical for risk. Quantitative risk assessments are easier to automate and generally more objective than qualitative ones.Treating Risks
To address the risks and maximize success, you need to connect with experts from different fields. If it’s a manual process, this means always maintaining open communication with the stakeholders of that field. The challenge is that the discussion will take place in a manual environment across many other documents, emails, and phone calls. A risk management solution increases efficiency by sending notifications straight to all stakeholders. All parties can then participate in discussions within the system, which speeds up progress and keeps upper management updated on what’s happening. With everyone getting updates from within the system, all stakeholders can focus more time on their work while minimizing time spent tracking down information.Monitoring and Reviewing Risks
There are always a few risks that exist in every business. Environmental and market risks, for example, can’t be eliminated, but they can be monitored. Manual systems rely on diligent managers to monitor these areas, but this is a time−consuming process. Digital environments offer an automated way to monitor risks−−if any part of the risk changes, it’s immediately visible to everyone. Computers are better at continually monitoring a large array of risks than people are, which saves time and ensures continuity. Learn how to create a risk management plan to review and monitor the risks your business exposes itself to.The Basics of Risk Management
The basic principle of risk management stays the same when you work digitally. What changes is how efficiently these steps can be taken, and as we’ve discussed, a digital process has no comparison to a manual system.Evaluation
Risk−management evaluations are necessary for any business looking to get the most out of its risk−management practices. Evaluations and assessments give businesses a clearer understanding of what they’re good at, where their vulnerabilities lie, and how to tackle them. These evaluations can be difficult, but solutions and technology simplify this process. It’s important to evaluate before making major changes to the business risk−management framework.Why is Risk Management Important?
Businesses need to be mindful of risks because they’ll experience heavy losses when surprises happen without proper risk management tools. Market changes, new competitors, and a lack of business knowledge can all be major threats that are held back by risk management.Conclusion
Organizations can use these steps to identify the risks more likely to have a harmful effect. They then prioritize cost−effective treatments and track the results to ensure they’re continually improving.
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