Today, there are more forms of memory than you can shake a stick at. Technically, memory can be anything used to store data, but today it is most commonly referred to as quickly accessed forms of storage. Just think about how slow your computer would be if it had to access the hard drive every time it needed to process a command. For this very reason, the computer selects a temporary memory device to store all of the commonly used commands so they can be pulled back up quickly. The different types of quick-pull memory include flash memory and various types of random access memory and read only memory. Let’s take a look at these different types of memory and see what sets them apart from each other.
Read Only Memory
ROM is a type of memory where information has been pre-recorded and is only available to be read. There is a slight variation, called PROM, or programmable read only memory, which is a set of memory devices, like a read only CD, that can be programmed, but then never changed. Once the memory is on the device and the session is closed, the memory cannot be added to or changed.
Random Access Memory (A.K.A. RAM)
While read only memory can be accessed in a certain order, like a cassette tape, random access memory can be accessed from any point at any time, as long as you know the exact location of the cell the memory is stored in. Most of a computers’ quick access memory is stored in RAM, but there is an issue when the computer looses power; the memory is erased.
Finally, the most notable type of memory today is flash memory. This memory comes in the form of flash drives, also known as thumb drives, and even the cards you insert into your digital camera. Flash memory is considered non-volatile, which means that it can be electronically erased and reprogrammed when deemed necessary. Today, each flash drive can be erased in pieces and parts, where as, five years ago, if you wanted to erase a portion of data on the flash drive, the entire drive had to be wiped clean.
Flash memory is also more cost-effective than any other type of memory produced today. There are currently developments being tested in hopes of making hard drives only from flash memory. The reason this is the wave of the future, there are no moving parts in flash memory. No moving parts mean that there will be far fewer failures with the memory.
What Memory Type Will You Use?
There are numerous types of memory. Each type has a certain purpose for which it was made. Computer memory is a basic storage device, just like your brain. The only difference between your memory and a computer’s memory is the way in which the information is recovered and the space available to store information. The next time you try to do something on an electronic device, see if you can identify what type of memory is being used.