Have you ever been confused about memory vs. storage? Are they the same or different? Which is more important to the computer? Many computer users consider memory and storage to be the same thing. If you are unsure about the difference between them, this post should clarify for you.
The term memory refers to the component within your computer that allows for short-term data access. You may recognize this component as RAM, or random-access memory. Your computer performs many operations by accessing data stored in its short-term memory. Some examples of such operations include editing a document, loading applications and browsing the internet. The speed and performance of your system depends on the amount of memory that is installed on your computer.
Memory, as the link between the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and data in your computer, is the most essential element of a computing system. Memory consists of main memory and cache, while the main memory includes two types: RAM (Random Access Memory) and ROM (Read Only Memory). The RAM is volatile memory while the ROM non-volatile memory.
Storage is the component of your computer that allows you to store and access data on a long-term basis. Usually, storage comes in the form of a solid-state drive or a hard drive. Storage houses your applications, operating system and files for an indefinite period. Computers need to write information and read it from the storage system so the speed of the storage determines how fast your system can boot up, load and access what you’ve saved. It is not directly accessible by the CPU. The computer usually uses its input/output channels to access secondary storage and transfer the desired data to main memory. Storage is a repository that can retain data without power, and data in storage devices can be permanently kept until it is purposely erased.
When an application is run, the software and data are copied from storage to RAM (read). The software instructions are executed in RAM to process the data. The updated data may be displayed or printed and then copied (written) back to storage.
Why the Confusion?
The problem with these terms is that many storage devices today use “flash memory” chips. Therefore, people think storage and memory are the same. To avoid confusion, you may refer to storage and RAM rather than storage and memory. RAM chips and storage chips may look alike, but RAM is faster and volatile, while storage is slower and non-volatile.
Still confused? Dial one of our specialists and we’ll try to further explain to you!