Memory is very much like our brain as it is used to store data and instructions. Computer memory is the storage space where data is to be processed, and instructions needed for processing are stored. The memory is divided into a large number of smaller portions called the cell. Every cell/ location has a unique address and a size.
Two types of memories are:
- Primary Memory
- Secondary Memory
In this tutorial, we will differentiate between Primary and Secondary memory, and learn:
- What is Memory?
- What is Primary Memory?
- RAM (Random Access Memory)
- ROM (Read Only Memory)
- What is Secondary Memory?
- Types of Secondary memory
- Characteristic of Primary Memory
- Characteristic Secondary Memory
- Primary Memory Vs Secondary Memory
Primary Memory is the main memory of the computer system. Accessing data from primary memory is faster because it is an internal memory of the computer. The primary memory is most volatile, meaning data in primary memory does not exist if it is not saved when a power failure occurs.
The primary memory is a semiconductor memory. It is costlier compared with secondary memory. The capacity of primary memory is very much limited and is always smaller compares to secondary memory.
Two types of Primary Memory are:
- Primary memory is also called internal memory whereas Secondary memory is also known as a Backup memory or Auxiliary memory.
- Primary memory can be accessed by the data bus whereas Secondary memory is accessed by I/O channels.
- Primary memory data is directly accessed by the processing unit whereas Secondary memory data cannot be accessed directly by the processor.
- Comparing primary and secondary storage devices, Primary storage devices are costlier than secondary storage device whereas Secondary storage devices are cheaper compared to primary storage device.
- When we differentiate primary and secondary memory, Primary memory is both volatile & nonvolatile whereas Secondary memory is always a non-volatile memory.
Random access memory which is also known as RAM is generally known as a main memory of the computer system. It is called temporary memory or cache memory. The information stored in this type of memory is lost when the power supply to the PC or laptop is switched off.
It stands for Read Only Memory. ROM is a permanent type of memory. Its content is not lost when the power supply is switched off. The computer manufacturer decides the information of ROM, and it is permanently stored at the time of manufacturing which can not be overwritten by the user.
All secondary storage devices which are capable of storing high volume data is referred to secondary memory. It’s slower than primary memory. However, it can save a substantial amount of data, in the range of gigabytes to terabytes. This memory is also called backup storage or mass storage media.
Mass storage devices:
The magnetic disk provides cheap storage and is used for both small and large computer systems.
Two types of magnetic disks are:
- Floppy disks
- Hard disks
Solid State Drive provides a persistent flash memory. It’s very fast compared to Hard Drives. Frequently found in Mobile phones, its rapidly being adopted in PC/Laptop/Mac.
This secondary storage device is from which data is read and written with the help of lasers. Optical disks can hold data up to 185TB.
- Blue Ray
It is one of the most popular types of secondary storage device available in the market. USB drives are removable, rewritable and are physically very small. The capacity of USB drives is also increasing significantly as today 1TB pen drive is also available in the market.
It is a serial access storage device which allows us to store a very high volume of data. Usually used for backups.
- The computer can’t run without primary memory
- It is known as the main memory.
- You can lose data in case power is switched off
- It is also known as volatile memory
- It is a working memory of the computer.
- Primary memory is faster compares to secondary memory.
- These are magnetic and optical memories
- Secondary memory is known as a backup memory
- It is a non-volatile type of memory
- Data is stored permanently even when the power of the computer is switched off
- It helps store data in a computer
- The machine can run without secondary memory
- Slower than primary memory
Here is the difference between Primary and Secondary memory:
|Parameter||Primary Memory||Secondary Memory|
|Nature||The primary memory is categorized as volatile & nonvolatile memories.||The secondary memory is always a non-volatile memory.|
|Alias||These memories are also called internal memory.||Secondary memory is known as a Backup memory or Additional memory or Auxiliary memory.|
|Access||Data is directly accessed by the processing unit.||Data cannot be accessed directly by the processor. It is first copied from secondary memory to primary memory. Only then CPU can access it.|
|Formation||It’s a volatile memory meaning data cannot be retained in case of power
|It’s a non-volatile memory so that that data can be retained even after power
|Storage||It holds data or information that is
currently being used by the processing unit. Capacity is usually in 16 to 32 GB
|It stores a substantial amount of data and information. Capacity is generally from 200GB to terabytes.|
|Accesses||Primary memory can be accessed by the data bus.||Secondary memory is accessed by I/O channels.|
|Expense||Primary memory is costlier than secondary memory.||Secondary memory is cheaper than primary memory.|
- Computer memory is the storage space where data is to be processed, and instructions needed for processing are stored
- Two types of memories are: Primary memory and Secondary memory
- Primary memory is the main memory of the computer system. Accessing data from primary memory is faster because it is an internal memory of the computer.
- All secondary storage devices which are capable of storing high volume data is referred to as secondary memory
- Types of Primary Memory 1) RAM, 2) ROM
- Types of Secondary Memory 1) Hard Drive, 2) SSD, 3) Flash, 4) Optical Drive, 5) USD Drive, 3) Magnetic Tapes
- The computer can’t run without primary memory. You can lose data in case power is switched off
- Data is stored permanently in Secondary Memory even when the power of the computer is switched off
- Primary memory is expensive and is available in limited in size in a computer.
- Secondary memory is cheaper compared to primary memory.