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What is Memory Units of Computers RAM and ROM

what are Memory Unit

Memory unit is the place where the computer program and data are stored during processing. It is the area, through which all the data which is input into or output of the CPU must pass. It is monitored by OU which keeps track of every thing in the storage. It is a random access device, which consists of thousands upon thousands of storage locations, each of which can be directly reached by the CU. Each storage location is distinguished by the address.
Types of Memory Unit
It is divided into two parts:Read Only Memory (ROM)

Read Only Memory (ROM)

This part of memory contains permanently stored information. When the power is switched off. ROM does not wash away. This information is available to a computer to read and process but not to be changed is kept on ROM. This information is stored on small pieces of memory chips, before the computer is assembled.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

This part of memory consists of blank chips and hence the computer can use it to store and retrieve (write and read) information during its processing. The information stored in RAM is volatile, that is, when the computer is shut down the stored information is lost.
Primary Storage Devices
The names of some computer’s primary storage devices are as follows:

  1. Random Access Memory (RAM)
    • DRAM
    • SRAM
  2. Read Only Memory (ROM)
    • EPROM
    • PROM


RAM is that part of main memory in which data and instructions are held temporarily. RAM provides a working area to the user to enter and process data. In RAM each data element has its own address (location). Any data element can be read easily and quickly by using that address. It is also called as Read-And-Write Memory (RAM) since the computer can store or write data at any selected location (address) and can retrieve or read data when needed. It is a temporary memory of a computer used to store data and an instruction when the computer is on; everything that is stored in RAM is lost when the computer is turned off. For this reason it is also called volatile memory. Large RAM sizes provide larger data that computer can hold and process. Additional RAM chips can be installed in a computer simply by plugging them on motherboard. This increases the storage capacity of RAM of computer.
RAM is a semiconductor memory with no moving part. Data can be accessed from RAM at very high speed very close to the speed of light. A memory chip less than one-fourth size of a postage stamp can store more than 500,000 bytes equivalent to the printed matter on a popular daily newspaper.


ROM stands for Read Only Memory. The instructions written in ROM can only be read but cannot be changed or deleted. The ROM is, there fore, also called non-volatile memory. It is not possible to write new information or instructions into the ROM. This is the reason why it is called Read Only Memory.
ROM stores data and instructions permanently. When the power is turned off, the instructions stored in ROM are not lost. The instructions are written into the ROM chips at the time of its manufacturing. When the computer is switched on, the instructions in the ROM are automatically loaded into the memory of the computer. These instructions prepare the computer system for use and display the initial operating system screen.
A variation of ROM is programmable read only memory (PROM). PROM is a ROM into which you can load read only programs and data. Some microcomputer software packages, such as electronic spreadsheets are available as PROM units as well as on interchangeable disks. ROM and PROM are used in variety of capabilities within a computer system.
Difference Between RAM and ROM
Everything that is stored in RAM is lost when the computer is turned off. For this reason it is also called volatile memory.
In contrast the Read Only Memory (ROM) is non-volatile memory. Instructions can only be read from ROM. Instructions once written on ROM chip cannot be changed. It is a permanent memory of a computer, i.e. the contents of this type of memory are not lost when the computer is turned off. As soon as the computer is turned on, a program that resides on ROM automatically makes the computer ready for use. ROM is a semiconductor memory generally programmed by the manufacturer.
Difference Between SIMMs and DIMMs
The capacity of RAM in a computer affects computer’s power. More RAM can make computer run faster. The computer does not necessarily have to load a complete program into its main memory to run it. However greater is the part of a program it can fit into memory, the faster the program will run.
Many RAM chips are installed on a small circuit board. These RAM chips are wired together to form a single module of large memory called Single In-Line Memory Modules (SIMMs). SIMM has contact terminals on it one side. It can easily be plugged into the motherboard. SIMMs had different capacities such as 1 Mbyte, 4Mbytes, and 16Mbytes with varying speed.
SIMMs were popular by PC users in 1980s but has now been replaced by DIMMs. Like SIMMs, Dual In-Line Memory Modules (DIMMs) have been developed installing many RAM chips. DIMMs provide larger capcity as compared to SIMMs. DIMMs have wider data bus and thus have higher rate of data transfer. DIMMs are available in several configurations having different capacities and speeds. You can expand RAM capacity of your computer by simply plugging in more DIMMs.

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