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Random Access Memory (RAM) and Read Only Memory (ROM)

  • Difficulty Level : Easy
  • Last Updated : 31 Aug, 2021

Memory is the most essential element of a computing system because without it computer can’t perform simple tasks. Computer memory is of two basic types – Primary memory(RAM and ROM) and Secondary memory (hard drive, CD, etc). Random Access Memory (RAM) is primary-volatile memory and Read Only Memory (ROM) is primary-non-volatile memory. 


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1. Random Access Memory (RAM) – 

  • It is also called read-write memory or the main memory or the primary memory.
  • The programs and data that the CPU requires during the execution of a program are stored in this memory.
  • It is a volatile memory as the data lost when the power is turned off.
  • RAM is further classified into two types- SRAM (Static Random Access Memory) and DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory).


2. Read Only Memory (ROM) – 

  • Stores crucial information essential to operate the system, like the program essential to boot the computer.
  • It is not volatile.
  • Always retains its data.
  • Used in embedded systems or where the programming needs no change.
  • Used in calculators and peripheral devices.
  • ROM is further classified into 4 types- MROM, PROM, EPROM, and EEPROM

Types of Read Only Memory (ROM) – 

  1. PROM (Programmable read-only memory) – It can be programmed by the user. Once programmed, the data and instructions in it cannot be changed. 
  2. EPROM (Erasable Programmable read only memory) – It can be reprogrammed. To erase data from it, expose it to ultraviolet light. To reprogram it, erase all the previous data. 
  3. EEPROM (Electrically erasable programmable read only memory) – The data can be erased by applying an electric field, with no need for ultraviolet light. We can erase only portions of the chip. 
  4. MROM(Marked ROM) – The very first ROMs were hard-wired devices that contained a pre-programmed set of data or instructions. These kind of ROMs are known as masked ROMs, which are inexpensive.



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