Differences between RAM memory and ROM memory

Probably, we have all heard these terms at some point when we read the specifications of a device that we want to buy, especially smartphones, tablets and the like, but do we really know what these two terms mean? In this article it is of our particular interest to show the reader the differences between RAM memory and ROM memory .


RAM , by its acronym Random Access Memory or random access memory, is a type of memory widely used as storage memory in computers, smartphones, laptops, tablets and other electronic devices. In general, devices that carry RAM are due to the fact that it is necessary to be able to run software, including the operating system and programs or applications. The purpose of RAM memory is to store all the instructions and operations that the processor must execute. Important program data and other data that are necessary for the operating system to function are also saved.

This type of memory is called random access because it can be read or written to any location with equal speed for all locations and without sequential order, making it faster than other types of memory. It should be noted that in this type of memories the data is saved in a volatile way, so once the power is removed, the stored data is deleted.

This type of memory is expandable. So each system has sockets where additional memory cards can be placed. Also, these cards must be of the same type to work, since, today, there are different types of RAM and they are generally not compatible with each other. Memory types range from SDR, DDR, DDR2, DDR3, among many others. Until now, there is a type of memory called GDDR5, which is commonly used in graphics cards for high-end computers and consoles and means –Graphics double data rate type 5- or in Spanish – double data rate memory for graphics version 5 .

ROM memory

ROM, for its acronym Read Only Memory, is a type of memory also used in computers and other electrical devices that, as its name indicates, can only be read. Therefore, it is not possible to record data in it, in any way, once it is programmed in its manufacture. This is because ROMs are normally used to carry a program or a set of instructions that normally do not need to be erased or changed frequently.

However, there are currently some variants of ROM memory that, through a specific process, can be erased and rewritten with a program, as many times as needed. For example, at the time of a firmware update in the case of a motherboard, a router, a modem, among others.

Differences between RAM memory and ROM memory:

RAM ROM memory
It is a random access memory. It is a read-only memory.
RAM can be randomly read and written. (means you can access at position 1 or 255 or other without carrying sequence) It can only be read (although most modern ROMs can be written using a special procedure).
Data is erased when power is removed. (it is volatile) Data remains when power is removed. (it is non-volatile)
It is used by processors to store data and instructions to be executed later. It is used to store instructions that contain a program or instructions so that the device can work.
It is usually used during the full operation of the device. Often, it is read only when the device is initialized.
If the device allows it, it is possible to expand the RAM memory, using memory sticks of the same type. It does not need to be expanded, the memory is designed by the manufacturer to be the ideal size to contain the basic instructions that the device will use.
It is very fast compared to a ROM. It is slow compared to RAM.

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