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Difference Between RAM and ROM

Random Access Memory (RAM) chips.
Samyak Lalit | April 11, 2016 (Last update: August 20, 2023)

Samyak Lalit is an Indian author and disability rights activist. He is the principal author and founder of projects like TechWelkin, WeCapable, Viklangta, Kavita Kosh among many others.

For all those who use computers and other electronic devices, it is important to know the difference between RAM and ROM. If you understand this difference you will be able to better understand how a computer works. RAM and ROM both are different types of memory and they both store data in a computer. In this article, we will tell you about the main differences between these two memories, namely RAM and ROM.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

RAM is a type of memory which allows access to the stored data in any sequence and from any physical location within the memory. RAM can be read and written with new data. The main benefit of RAM is that it takes almost same time in accessing any data in it, irrespective of the location of data. This makes RAM a very fast memory. Computers can read from RAM very quickly and also they can write new data in RAM very quickly.

How does RAM look like?

Commercially available regular RAM chips can be easily plugged-in and plugged-out a computer’s motherboard. The following image shows the RAM chips.

Random Access Memory (RAM) chips.

Random Access Memory (RAM) chips.

Read Only Memory (ROM)

As the name suggests, data is written in ROM only once and permanently. After that, data can only be read by computers. Read only memory is often used to install the permanent instructions into a computer. These instructions will never change. ROM chips store the basic input/output system (BIOS) of a computer. The following image shows a commercially available ROM BIOS chip.

Read-only memory. ROM BIOD chip.

Read-only memory. ROM BIOD chip.

Difference between RAM and ROM

The following table lists the main differences between Random-access and Read-only memory.

Comparison chart of RAM and ROM
1. Stands for Randon-access Memory Stands for Read-only memory
2. RAM is a read and write memory Normally ROM is read only memory and it can not be overwritten. However, EPROMs can be reprogrammed
3. RAM is faster ROM is relatively slower than RAM
4. RAM is a volatile memory. It means that the data in RAM will be lost if power supply is cut-off ROM is permanent memory. Data in ROM will stay as it is even if we remove the power-supply
5. There are mainly two types of RAM; static RAM and Dynamic RAM There are several types of ROM; Erasable ROM, Programmable ROM, EPROM etc.
6. RAM stores all the applications and data when the computer is up and running ROM usually stores instructions that are required for starting (booting) the computer
7. Price of RAM is comparatively high ROM chips are comparatively cheaper
8. RAM chips are bigger in size ROM chips are smaller in size
9. Processor can directly access the content of RAM Content of ROM are usually first transferred to RAM and then accessed by processor. This is done in order to be able to access ROM content at a faster speed.
10. RAM is often installed with large storage. Storage capacity of ROM installed in a computer is much lesser than RAM

RAM and ROM are both integral parts of a modern computer system. Do you want to know when ROM is working and when RAM is in play? Well, when you switch on your computer, you may see a black screen with some white text. This text comes from ROM. The ROM instructions control the computer for first few second when you power it on. During this period instructions like “how to read from hard disk”, “how to print on screen” are loaded from ROM. Once computer is capable of doing these basic operations, the operating system (Windows/Linux/OSX etc.) is read from hard disk and loaded in RAM. The following video explains RAM vs. ROM concept further.

When you open a program like Microsoft Word, the program is loaded from computer’s hard disk into the RAM.

We hope this article helped you in understanding the main differences between RAM and ROM. If you have any questions related with this subject, please feel free to ask in the comments section. We will try to assist you. Thank you for using TechWelkin!


One response to “Difference Between RAM and ROM”

  1. Godwin Ekere says:

    TechWelkin lab is one of the best site for solving question. keep it up.

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