What is Computer Memory? [Full Explanation With Examples]

Memory is the most important part of the computer because without memory computer can’t do any work.

In today’s article, we will learn in detail about, what is computer memory and how many types of computer memory?

So without wasting time let’s first understand what is computer memory?

computer memory
computer memory

What is Computer Memory

Computer memory is a physical device used to store data, information, and instructions in a computer.  Like we humans have a brain to store data and information, in the same way, computer has memory to store data and information.

Memory is made up of many small cells, that store binary information in the form of bits.

Each cell in memory has a different address, with an address varying from zero to one less than the memory size.

For example, if the size of computer memory is 64k (here K = kilobytes), the memory units contain 64 * 1024 = 65536 cells. The address of a memory cell ranges from 0 to 65535.

Computer memory can be mainly divided into three parts – primary memory, secondary memory, and cache memory.

Let’s understand one by one about all these types of computer memory.

Types of Computer Memory

  1. primary memory
  2. Secondary memory
  3. Cache memory

1. Primary Memory

Primary memory is the main memory of the computer from which data can be accessed very fast. This is the internal memory of the computer.

Primary memory is a volatile memory, meaning that data in the primary memory remains only as long as the computer remains on, as soon as the computer is turned off, the data stored in the primary memory is also destroyed.

Primary memory is a semiconductor memory. It is more expensive than secondary memory. The capacity of primary memory is very limited and always smaller than secondary memory.

Primary memory is much faster than secondary memory and it is very close to the CPU.

Primary memory Communicates directly with CPU and cache memory. All the data required by the CPU for processing is stored in the primary memory.

Examples of Primary Memory: RAM, ROM, SRAM, DRAM, PROM, EPROM, etc.

Characteristics of Primary Memory or Main Memory

  • It is known as the main memory of the computer.
  • This is the fastest memory.
  • This is volatile memory, which means after the power is turned off, all  data and information stored inside it is destroyed.
  • It is a semiconductor memory.
  • This is the internal memory of the computer.
  • It is directly accessed by the processor (CPU).
  • It is much faster than secondary memory
  • Computer can’t run without primary memory.

2. Secondary Memory

Secondary memory is a permanent storage memory which is used to permanently store the program and the output obtained from the execution of the program in the computer.

Secondary memory is a non-volatile memory that means all data and information stored in the secondary memory remains even after the computer is turned off.

Secondary memory is much slower and cheaper than primary memory.

Unlike primary memory, secondary memory cannot be directly accessed by the CPU. The data from the secondary memory is first loaded into RAM (Random Access Memory) or primary memory and then sent to the processor (CPU) to read and update the data.

Secondary memory resides in the computer as an external memory, inside which data can be stored in gigabytes and terabytes.

Secondary memory is also called backup storage or mass storage media.

Examples of Secondary Memory – CD-ROM, DVD, Hard Disc, Compact Disc, Pen Drive, Flash Drive, solid-state drives (SSDs), optical (CD or DVD) drives, etc.

Characteristics of Secondary Memory or Storage Memory

  • Secondary memory is also known as backup memory.
  • It is a non-volatile memory.
  • The data is stored permanently in the secondary memory.
  • It is used to store data and programs in the computer.
  • A computer can also run without secondary memory.
  • Secondary memory is slower than primary memory.
  • It is cheaper than primary memory.
  • It consists of optical and magnetic memory for storing data.
  • This is an external memory.

3. Cache memory

Cache memory is a very high-speed semiconductor computer memory that provides speed to the CPU. It is a temporary memory in which the data stored gets destroyed as soon as the computer is turned off.

It acts as a buffer between CPU and main memory.

It is a small chip-based computer memory that is present between the CPU and the main memory.

It is used to hold the data and those parts of the program which are used most frequently by the CPU.

Data and program parts are transferred by the operating system from disk to primary memory and then from primary memory to cache memory, from where the CPU can easily access them.

It also reduces the access time of data from main memory. It is faster than main memory, and sometimes, it is also called CPU memory because it is very close to the CPU chip.

Advantages of Cache Memory

  • Cache memory is much faster than main memory.
  • It stores all data and instructions used repeatedly by the CPU which improves the performance of the computer.
  • Data access time is less than main memory.
  • It stores data temporarily.

Friends, you must have understood that what is memory and how many types of memory are there? but have you ever wondered why we need computer memory? If not, then let’s know about it.

Why do we need computer memory?

In computers, we need computer memory to store different types of data such as text, images, videos, audio, documents, etc. If we do not keep these data stored, then we will not be able to retrieve them, so it is necessary to store these data. So that we can retrieve that data when we need it.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Types of memory in computer

There are mainly three types of memory in the computer – primary memory, secondary memory, and cache memory. I have told you about all these memory in detail above.

What is considered as the data or instruction to be entered in the computer memory?

The data or instructions to be entered in the computer memory are considered as input. Whenever we have to enter any data or information in the computer memory, we enter that data in the computer memory with the help of input device.

Conclusion

Friends, I hope that after reading this article, you will get all the information about what is computer memory and how many types of computer memory? and you will not have to search about Computer Memory anywhere else.

If you want a complete tutorial on Computer Fundamentals, then see this article Computer Fundamental Tutorial. Here you will get all the topics of Computer Fundamentals step by step.

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