Types of Memory in Computer Architecture

Memory circuit in Computer

The internal logic design of a Computer is known as the architecture of the Computer. It consists of a CPU or Microprocessor, Input devices, Output device and Memory. Computers work according to commands. During its work, the input data and mid-work output data are stored in it’s memory. The Memory of a Computer is not a single cell in its architecture. There are varieties of Memories or storage in Computer – some are internally built and some are to be connected externally. In this article, I’m going to explain different types of Memory in Computer architecture.

Contents in this article:

  1. What is the memory in computer?
  2. Use of Memory in a Computer
  3. Types of Memory in Computer
  4. Primary Memory in computer
  5. Secondary Memory in Computer
  6. Cache Memory
  7. Permanent Memory in Computer
  8. Virtual Memory
  9. Memory devices

What is Memory of Computer?

The Memory in a Computer is a subsystem of a digital processing system which can store digital data and binary coded instructions. One can imagine that a Memory is made of a large number of cells that stores a 0 or a 1 bit. The memory circuit plays an important role in the operation of a Computer.

Use of Computer Memory

Memory in a Computer system stores digital data and binary coded instructions in its cells. The number of cells gives the capacity of the Memory. A Computer needs to communicate with memory and other components to perform an operation as per command. During its operation Computer reads instructions from the Memory.

Types of Memory in Computer system

Types of Computer Memory storage
Types of Computer Memory storage

Memory elements in a Computer are mainly classified into two categories –

  1. Primary Memory or Main Memory
  2. Secondary Memory

RAM and ROM are two Primary Memories and Magnetic storage devices and Semiconductor devices are two types of secondary storage.

Apart from these, some other memory elements like resisters, cache memory etc. are also available. All these are discussed below.

Primary Memory in Computer

Computer uses primary storage or main memory to store programs and data during their execution. Read only memory (ROM) and Random access memory (RAM) are the two main memories in a computer.

Read only Memory (ROM)

A read only memory device can store data permanently on a computer. This is non-volatile type of memory, it can store data even when the power supply is off. One can read out the stored data in any memory location during the normal operation. This is the permanent memory in computer.

ROM is available in the form of IC and can be made by using diodes or BJT Transistors or MOSFETs. SD card is an example of ROM. ROM can be programmable (PROM) and erasable (EPROM).

Random Access Memory (RAM)

Random access memory (RAM) is read-write memory. It can store instruction and data temporarily and one can read and write the data in any location of memory. RAM is volatile type of memory. So, it losses the contents after switching off the power supply.

There are two types of RAM – Static RAM and dynamic RAM. Static RAM stores data as long as the power supply is on, but the stored data in dynamic RAM gets refreshed periodically.

Secondary Memory in Computer

The main memory (RAM) of a computer is volatile in nature. But, sometimes the computer needs to store programs and data for future uses. For this purpose, a computer must have a permanent type of memory.

Memories that are used to store data permanently in a computer are secondary memories. Some of the examples of Secondary memories are Magnetic hard disks, floppy disks, Compact disk read only memories (CD-ROMs) etc. These are the virtual memories in the computer.

There are two types of secondary memory in computers –

  • Magnetic storage devices
  • Semiconductor devices or Flash Memory

Dard disc, Compact disc (CD), Digital Versatile device (DVD), Optical storage, etc. are examples of Magnetic storage devices. Among the Flash memories, there are USB flash drives and flash memory cards.

Cache memory in Computer architecture

In addition to primary and secondary memories, a computer also has Cache memory in the region between the CPU and the main memory. Cache memory is a small and high-speed memory that stores currently needed instructions and data. It is a good option to increase the speed of operation of a computer without having any expensive resort. The maximum theoretical cache size is 2 MB. Cache memory is the fastest memory in the computer system.

Memory devices in Computer

Memories are available in the form of devices. SD card, memory card, Hard disk, CD, Pen drive etc. are the memory devices for a computer. There are two types of memory units in a computer – external memory and internal memory. The memory devices mentioned above are external memories. RAM, ROM, and Cache memories are internal memories of a computer.

Discussion of the summary

A computer needs memory to store instruction and data. It has primary memory (ROM and RAM), secondary memory (Hard disk, floppy disk, etc.) and cache memory. The full form of ROM is read only memory and RAM is the read and write memory which has the full form as random access memory. The main purpose of secondary memory is to store data or instruction permanently. Cache memory stores the real-time data and increases the speed of the operation or decreases the response time.

  1. ROM is the permanent memory in the computer.
  2. Secondary memory is the virtual memory in the computer architecture.
  3. Cache memory is the fastest memory in the computer system.
  4. Resisters are the temporary memory units.

This is all from this article on different types of memory in computer architecture and their uses. If you have any doubt on this topic, you can ask me in the comment section.

Thank you!

Related Posts:

  1. Units of Memory in Computer storage
  2. Input devices in computer
  3. Output devices in computer