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Tech FAQ: What is the Difference Between RAM and ROM?

RAM versus ROM

One of the questions that Webopedia has been asked a few times on our Facebook Page is to explain the difference between RAM and ROM. RAM (Random Access Memory) and ROM (Read Only Memory) are types of computer memory that provide users with access to information stored on a computer. Here are the top five differences between the two types of memory:




RAM is Random Access Memory.
ROM is Read Only Memory.

RAM is the memory available for the operating system, programs and processes to use when the computer is running.  
ROM is the memory that comes with your computer that is pre-written to hold the instructions for booting-up the computer.

RAM requires a flow of electricity to retain data (e.g. the computer powered on).
ROM will retain data without the flow of electricity (e.g. when computer is powered off).

RAM is a type of volatile memory. Data in RAM is not permanently written. When you power off your computer the data stored in RAM is deleted.
ROM is a type of non- volatile memory. Data in ROM is permanently written and is not erased when you power off your computer.

There are different types of RAM, including DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) and SRAM (Static Random Access Memory).
There are different types of ROM, including PROM (programmable read-only memory) that is manufactured as blank memory (e.g. a CD-ROM) and EPROM (erasable programmable read-only memory).

There are many differences between RAM and ROM memory but there are also a couple similarities (and these are very easy to remember).  Both types of memory used by a computer, and they are both required for your computer to operate properly and efficiently.

Have more questions about RAM and ROM? Feel free to ask in the comments section!

Follow Vangie Beal on Twitter

Based in Nova Scotia, Canada, Vangie Beal is a freelance writer, covering business and Internet technology for more than a decade. She is also managing editor of

ghjgjgj said on June 08, 2017 03:05 AM PDT

KJ said on April 13, 2017 11:14 AM PDT

Really Helpful. Thanks a whole lot. Question has been picking at me for a while and it even came up in class so it's a big help. Thx

sumit said on December 17, 2016 03:32 AM PST

Nice very good writtent this is realy RAM and ROM.

bogdan mot said on October 14, 2016 04:59 AM PDT

really helped me's me said on October 05, 2016 04:05 AM PDT

Actually helped :)

HaWk said on June 12, 2016 07:54 AM PDT

good work :D

Dihansa said on March 09, 2016 23:43 PM PST

TNX. best answer ever

NovaScotian said on March 03, 2016 07:47 AM PST

This is really helpful for class

shabista shahid said on November 29, 2015 04:04 AM PST

Thx. I needed this answer greatly.....

IVY said on October 27, 2015 23:15 PM PDT

The information came in quite handy.... Thanks a lot!!!!!!

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