Computer Memory (RAM) and Storage (Hard Drive)

ram vs ssd

Many people think computer memory and storage are the same things because both of them are measured in the same units: bytes, kilobytes, megabytes, etc. Both memory and storage are places to hold your data, but they do very different things. Those who realize that there is a difference between the two often cannot identify this difference.

The two computer components that “memory” & “storage” refers to RAM and the hard drive. Computers have two kinds of storage — temporary and permanent. A computer’s memory is used for temporary storage, while a computer’s hard drive is used for permanent storage.

Computer memory

What is Computer Memory

The computer memory is a component that allows you to access data that is stored for the short term. The memory is known as RAM. Your computer performs many operations by accessing data stored in its short-term memory.
Some examples of such operations including:

  • Editing a document
  • Running a program
  • Browsing the Internet

The amount of computer memory determines the speed and performance of your system. If you’d like to know more please click How to Find out How Much Memory Your PC Has.

how many memory

What is Computer Memory

Storage refers to the location of long-term data. Usually, storage comes in the form of a solid-state drive (SSD) or hard disk drive (HDD). Storage allows you to access and store your applications, operating system, and files for an indefinite period of time. This is a permanent type of storage: Hard drives can be unplugged and contain the same information as for when they’re plugged in or turned on.

More hard drive storage allows you to store more things on your computer. However, it rarely affects your computer’s performance. A computer with 1 gigabyte of RAM will work at the same speed whether it has 2 gigabytes of storage or 2000 gigabytes.

To find out how much storage your PC has:

  1. Select the Start button, and then select Settings.
  2. Select System > Storage.

What is Storage in Your Computer

Types of Computer Memory

The performance of computers mainly based on memory and CPU. Memory is internal storage media of computer that has several names such as majorly categorized into two types, primary memory, and secondary memory.

Memory Chips (Volatile)
  • Dynamic RAM (DRAM chips)
  • Static RAM (SRAM chips)
Storage Device (Non-Volatile)
  • Hard drive (magnetic disk)
  • Solid-state drive (flash memory)
  • A USB drive (flash memory)
  • SD Card (flash memory)
  • CompactFlash (flash memory)
  • CD-R (optical disc)
  • DVD-R (optical disc)
  • DVD-RAM (optical disc)
  • magnetic tape (tape cartridge)

Computer memery types

What is Different Between Memory and Storage

An important distinction between memory and storage is that data in memory will be cleared when the computer is turned off. On the other hand, the data gets nothing changes on the hard drive no matter how many times you shut down your computer.

Image if you have a desk and a filing cabinet, the desk represents the memory of your computer.

  • Items you will need to use soon are kept in your desk for easy access. However, not much can be stored in a desk due to its size limitations. While the filing cabinet represents the storage of your computer.
  • Items that must be kept yet won’t necessarily be accessed soon are stored in the filing cabinet. Due to the size of the filing cabinet, many things can be stored.

Therefore, in the desk and filing cabinet analogy, any files that are left on your desk when you leave the office will be thrown away. Everything in your filing cabinet will remain.

Memory vs Storage

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