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Memory - Types and Speed

This section will examine the LO1 component regarding different types and speed of computer memory.

The memory in a computer system can be divided into:

  • Random Access Memory (RAM)
  • Read Only Memory (ROM)

RAM is temporary storage that the processor uses to store programs, and their associated data, while they are running. The idea of a program running from a computer's main memory is known as the 'stored program concept'. When invoked a program will be loaded from hard disk into RAM and any data entered is stored in RAM as well. RAM is volatile, which means that its contents are lost when the machine is turned off.

Memory size and speed, along with the processor type and speed, are factors which affect system performance. The more memory a machine has the faster it will be because the processor does not have to spend as much time transferring blocks of program code into RAM. The faster a processor can read and write to memory can also boost a machines performance.

Next: RAM Facts