What Is Computer Memory and Its Types?

Computer memory is an electronic device that stores data for quick access. We cannot store or save any information without memory in the computer, and the system would not function properly. You will also find the use of an operating system, hardware, and software packages in a computer as well.

Computer memory types include primary and secondary categories. Primary memory, often termed as ‘memory,’ specifically refers to Random Access Memory (RAM). RAM is a type of memory located in microchips and is physically placed close to a computer’s microprocessor for faster processing speed.

The computer is a very fast and efficient machine, but it would not be if the CPU had to use secondary storage due to its slow operation. The best way to make computers faster is by providing them high RAM and processing power from the start. The more memory a computer has, the less frequently it needs to access instructions and data from slower storage (secondary storage) devices.

Memory Vs. Storage

When it comes to the concept of memory, there are some distinct differences between primary and secondary storage. Primary memory refers to the location of short-term data, while storage encompasses anything stored on a long-term basis.

Memory is a computer’s primary storage and enables users to access data stored for a short period. While it enables access, it will lapse all information after power is shut down or reset as it has a volatile nature.

Storage helps to maintain data in computer systems either by using hard drives or discs, and it will not lose data after the machine is turned off. Instead, this information will continue to exist on its own after the power has been shut off. A running program may reside inside the computer’s primary memory during use for quick access by programs themselves, but once they are closed down, these programs move over into secondary storage.

The amount of memory and storage that you may need varies depending on your tasks. For instance, a computer with 8GB RAM may only have 250 GB of storage for all your programs to run, but it is still more than enough since computers won’t need quick access to all the information stored on it at once; thus, 8 GB RAM is sufficient.

How Does Computer Memory Work?

When a program is open, the processor can access it from primary memory and secondary storage. Hence, there are different types of storage and speeds, and the open program will communicate with the computer’s processor and move from storage to primary memory for faster operations.

The data in memory is volatile, which means that it will automatically be deleted after turning off the computer or losing power. On the other hand, if you have saved a file, it will move from primary memory to a secondary storage device like an SSD.

Types Of Computer Memory

As discussed, computer memory includes two categories: Primary and Secondary. There are numerous types in primary memory, including the following:

1.Cache Memory – A temporary storage area that can be accessed more quickly than the main computer's RAM. It is also called CPU memory and is integrated in the CPU chip.

2.RAM – Random Access Memory is the term for any storage location that your processor can access directly.

3.Dynamic RAM – DRAM or Dynamic RAM is semiconductor memory that stores data and program codes in the computer processor.

4.Static RAM – SRAM stores data bits in its memory and does not need to be refreshed or updated as long as power remains accessible.

5.Double Data Rate SDRAM – DDR SRAM is SDRAM that can improve memory clock speed to at least 200MHz.

6.Double Data Rate 4 SDRAM – Double Data Rate 4 Synchronous Dynamic RAM is a type of DRAM and a successor to DDR2 and DDR3 versions. It allows for lower voltage requirements and higher module density coupled with faster data transfer speed that allows for inline memory modules up to 64 GBs per channel.

7.Rambus Dynamic RAM – RDRAM is a system that can transfer up to 1.6 billion bytes per second. It consists of RAM (which stores data), the bus connecting these two components, and other devices inside your computer, like graphic cards or hard drives.

8.Read-Only Memory – ROM is non-volatile permanent storage that allows a computer system to start up automatically when it is turned on.

9.Programmable ROM – PROM is a type of ROM that the user can modify once. It enables you to tailor your microcode programs using special equipment called PROM programmers.

10.Erasable PROM – EPROMS are the type of PROM that can be programmed and read back. It can be erased by shining an intense UV light through their window, which causes them to lose all data stored within them.

11.Electrical Erasable PROM – EEPROM is a type of user-modifiable ROM that can be erased and reprogrammed repeatedly through an application. Unlike EPROM chips, EEPROMs do not need to be removed from the computer for modification. However, data must be erased all together and not selectively. 

12.Virtual Memory – Virtual memory is a secondary storage technique that enables computers to compensate for physical RAM shortages by temporarily transferring RAM to hard drives.

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