What are the different types of memory in computers? The functioning of a computer is much the same as that of a man, with regards to processing information, storage and retrieval. Humans, immediately after they acquire a piece of information, store it in their short-term memory. Retrieval from the short term memory is quicker and easier.
However, the more permanent sort of memory is our long term memory. When pieces of information slip into our LTM, they are harder to retrieve but much permanent in nature.
Likewise, there are two basic types of memory in computer, the type volatile in nature and the other, conversely, non-volatile. Although there are several (as many as 7 according to several experts), we would stick to these two major types.
A volatile memory is one which erases itself when the power switches off. The most common type of volatile memory is RAM. RAM is essentially one of the types of memory in computer that is analogous to the Short Term Memory of a human. RAM or Random Access Memory, as the name suggests, allows the processor to access any memory cell it wants. Known as the working area of the computer, RAM hold the application software, operating system and all other software that the computer may be using at that time. The advantage of these types of memory in computer is that they allow the processor to read the information/write the information quickly to and from the software application, thus aiding the overall speed of the computer processing. RAM in non-volatile as it stops working once the computer shuts off.
SRAM and DRAM another popular types of memory in computer that are volatile in nature. DRAM or Dynamic RAM is simpler in nature but requires incessant refreshing: data needs to be read/written repeatedly. SRAM or Static RAM are the types of memory in computer that do not require repeated refreshing and thus is faster than DRAM. SRAM is used as Cache memory in computers while DRAM is used in main memory.
Non-volatile memory is a permanent memory; it remains stored even if the power is plugged off. ROM or Read Only Memory is one of the most common types of memory in computer which is non-volatile in nature. The name tells the story: this memory allows the data to be read, not written. Here, the concept of reading and writing needs to be elaborated.
Reading from the memory refers to transferring the information from the ROM to the RAM. Writing to the memory on the other hand, means transferring from the RAM to the ROM. We associate the read function to ‘opening a file’ and write function to ‘saving information.’
ROM executes slowly as it needs to process each cell address and then give the processor the directions to fetch the data from the cell locations it is stored in. Moreover, ROM stores the operating system, the different software and other permanent data. ROM is contained in different storage devices such as flash drives, CDs, DVD, hard disks etc.
PROM, EPROM, EEPROM are some common types of memory in computer when it comes to ROM. PROM, or programmable ROM can only be written on/programmed once. ERPROM i.e. Erasable Programmable ROM can be written on, then re-formatted by the help of ultraviolet radiation. EEPROM are the chips that can be reprogrammed without any technical programmer; they can be done in their own unit. The computer BIOS or Binary Input Output System are held in EERPROM and thus can be refreshed any time without further ado.