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

Computer Memory: RAM

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!

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Based in Nova Scotia, Canada, Vangie Beal has been covering small business, electronic commerce and Internet technology for more than a decade. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

nandhini said on January 06, 2014 05:11 AM PST

good explanation.

smsitliquidation said on December 29, 2013 08:13 AM PST

Thanks for the basic info....

vyshnavy said on December 05, 2013 23:18 PM PST

Excellent awesome

Engineer Solomoni said on November 10, 2013 13:51 PM PST

Good explanation about ram and rom, big up..

Qui-Gon Jinn said on November 01, 2013 05:10 AM PDT


Manjunath said on October 26, 2013 07:24 AM PDT

excellent answer thanks

kiz said on October 24, 2013 02:32 AM PDT

very nice

akash deep said on October 21, 2013 05:25 AM PDT

Thaks for basic information

mathiasmark said on October 18, 2013 08:48 AM PDT

i love the simplicity and easy to understand approach you apply in answering questions

p.lavanya said on October 12, 2013 04:42 AM PDT

thank for this good explanation and every followers can get a good knowledge of this very humble and faith full thanks for u

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