Unless you are an IT professional or studying IT, it is hard to understand how a computer operates and stores data. For computers to operate, they need memory (RAM and ROM). Therefore it is important to understand the difference between RAM and ROM. RAM (Random-Access Memory)and ROM (Read-Only Memory) are both forms of data storage, but they have different functions in a computer. Our article will help you distinguish between RAM and ROM.
There are two types of memory in a computer which you need to know about in order to understand how a computer works and stores data. These two types of memory are RAM and ROM. The two computer memory enables the computer process things faster. RAM and ROM can easily be confused, but we are going to provide you with the difference between ROM and RAM to help you set them apart.
What is RAM (Random-Access Memory)
After the SSD or the magnetic hard drive, there is RAM which is the largest piece of memory existing of the computer hardware. The function of RAM is to store the data and programs that the CPU uses in real time. The stored data on RAM can be written, read, and erased.
RAM is a volatile memory, and this is because the data stored there gets lost as soon as the power supply is cut. This is the reason why we cannot depend on RAM as our permanent storage even though it is much faster than the magnetic disk-based drives used in the past. The current operating systems contain built-in workarounds that handle the volatile nature of RAM. Therefore the work done is continuously saved on a hard drive in order to avoid situations whereby there is system shutdown which may lead to loss of data.
What is ROM (Read Only Memory)
ROM is another notable memory type that is presented in a computer. As suggested by the name, the data stored on the memory can only be read by the computer. It is a non-volatile memory meaning that it does not forget the data in case the power supply is cut. It is most often used to store firmware for hardware which does not get any update like the BIOS. Traditionally, data on ROM was hardwired to it meaning that the data was written at the time of manufacturing. Currently. The ROM has been advanced to support rewriting and erasing of data. However, the ROM cannot achieve the efficiency level of the ROM chip.
RAM vs ROM: What is the difference between RAM and ROM
What are RAM and ROM? Is a question most people ask. Below are the differences between RAM and ROM which will help you understand how a computer works and stores data.
Difference in use
RAM is a temporary memory that can be accessed and changed from time to time. Any program that needs to store data temporarily can access the RAM which is part of their operations. The size of RAM that a computer has determines the speed of the CPU and most of the processing can be achieved without the hard disk being accessed, thus increasing the speed of the computer. The information stored in the RAM is deleted as soon as the program completes its task or when the power is cut off.
On the other hand, ROM is a permanent storage chip which can be read by machine. It is different from RAM because the data stored there will not be erased in case the computer’s power is cut. The most common example of ROM is known as the firmware which is often used by the computer to boot up. This portion of computer memory cannot be accessed or used for anything else. The other example of ROM is the CD-ROM which once burned, the data stored cannot be altered.
Difference in Volatility
RAM is a volatile memory. This means that data stored in the system is deleted when you shut down or restart your computer. It is volatile because data is stored electrically on transistors. Therefore when there is no electric power, the data disappears. When you request for information or file, it will be retrieved either from the internet or the storage disk of the computer. The data or information is stored in the RAM which makes it possible to maintain the information while you are switching from one program to another. I case the computer is shut down the memory will be cleared until the process starts again. This memory can be upgraded, expanded, or changed easily by the user. Therefore, you should find out if your computer or gadget needs more memory to avoid getting into storage trouble with it.
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On the other hand, ROM is a non-volatile memory meaning that information or data is stored on the chip permanently. ROM does not depend on electric power to save data. Therefore, data is written to various cells by use of binary code. The memory is usually used for computer parts that cannot change such as firmware instructions, and the boot-up portion of the software. When the computer is turned off, the ROM will not be affected. Users cannot alter this memory.
Difference in types
The major types of RAM include dynamic RAM (DRAM), and static RAM (SRAM). Static RAM has more storage capacity, and it is more expensive than dynamic RAM which needs to be refreshed from time to time, thus slower.
On the other hand, ROMs are understood as integrated circuits which contain data that are impossible to alter. Some of the types of ROM can be modified, and they include erasable programmable ROM (EPROM), programmable ROM (PROM), Flash, and electrically erasable programmable ROM (EEPROM). PROM is an example of ROM that can be altered once by use of a particular device that uses high voltages. EEPROM can be altered electrically, and the devices should not be removed from the computer. EPROM can be changed using UV radiation. Flash drives are understood as a modern version of EEPROM which is the fastest when it comes to rewriting and erasing. The other types of ROM include CD-RW, CD-R, and CD-ROM which are used to store music, and media files.
Difference in Speed
RAM is a high-speed memory while ROM is much slower than the RAM.
Difference in CPU interaction
The CPU can access the information or data stored on RAM while for ROM the CPU cannot access the data. In order to access the data, it needs to be copied to RAM first.
Difference in size and capacity
RAM has a large size, and at the same time, it has a higher capacity. On the other hand, ROM has a small size with less capacity.
The above information will help you understand the difference between RAM and ROM, thus enabling you to understand how a computer works and stores data. Share the information with your friends and family members to help them understand the RAM and ROM difference. This information will help you understand how to improve the performance of your computer.