If you are unfamiliar with the construction of computers and the various types of hardware they rely on to function, it can be somewhat difficult to effectively shop for parts needed for assembly, replacement, or upgrades. Two types of computer hardware that may get mixed up is RAM and ROM, due to their similar acronyms and roles. While both devices are used for memory storage, their capabilities differ, making it necessary to have a clear understanding of their differences. In this blog, we will discuss RAM modules
and ROM modules in more detail, ensuring that you choose the correct type for your individual needs.
RAM, or Random Access Memory, is a type of memory device that is able to temporarily store information and code that is under execution, not to be confused with secondary storage devices like Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) that permanently store programs, documents, and other forms of data. As a form of volatile device, RAM can only hold memory for as long as it is receiving power. Modern computers generally use one of two types of RAM, those of which include dynamic RAM (DRAM) and static RAM (SRAM). SRAM
is the more powerful option, executing reading and writing with increased speed and less power than DRAM, allowing it to act as cache memory. DRAM, meanwhile, is cheaper to produce despite still boasting rapid speeds, making it more widely used in various computer systems. Both forms of RAM are volatile and act as the main memory of a computer.
ROM, or Read-Only Memory, meaning that it is used to store data that will not require frequent modification. Generally, the data on this device is installed after manufacturing and is often unchangeable. If one wants to erase the data on their ROM device, they can take advantage of what is known as erasable programmable read-only memory or electrically erasable programmable read-only memory, or EPROM and EEPROM respectively. ROM modules are most commonly used for the start-up process of a computer, storing the data that is needed to run initial programs for booting. Other devices such as graphics cards
, CD drives, and more may also utilize ROM for their functions. Unlike RAM, ROM is a permanent medium of storage that is non-volatile, meaning that it will retain its data without being provided power.
As ROM and RAM serve different purposes, they feature different speeds and capabilities. RAM is much quicker than ROM
, allowing it to run programs and switch between tasks in a rapid fashion. RAM can also write data much quicker, allowing it to be used for normal operations. Despite this, ROM is used for the startup process of the computer, meaning that it does not require the power of RAM for it to be effective. As a result, the two should not be compared against one another, but knowing their differences can help you purchase the right part for your needs.
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