How Does Direct Memory Access Work?

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Direct memory access is accomplished by the use of special communication paths called DMA channels that are assigned to a specific peripheral. If a peripheral device has the required processing capability, it can use one of the DMA channels to transfer data from RAM own its own without consulting the CPU. It's sort of like a toddler having to get mommy's (the CPU) help to get a drink while the teenaged sibling (with greater processing ability) can get it himself without interrupting mommy. Benefits of Direct Memory Access Modern computers are able to simultaneously run many processes at once. Without the benefit of direct memory access, the CPU could be tied up a great percentage of time responding to slower peripherals needing access to information stored in memory. A device using one of the several DMA channels that modern computers come with can bypass the CPU. This allows all processes to run faster. What Devices Use DMA? It is standard for most computers to have a total of eight ... more
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