Technology

Difference Between Volatile Memory and Non-Volatile Memory

Main difference

Volatile memory refers to the temporary memory in the computer that only holds data until power is supplied, once the system is powered off, the data present in the memory is lost. Computer system RAM (Random Access Memory) is the common type of volatile memory as it only stores data of the current processes in progress and when the system is powered off, the data in RAM is gone. Non-volatile memory is the type of computer memory that stores data permanently even after it is turned off. Secondary storage or ROM is the type of non-volatile memory as the data stored in them is saved even after the system is turned off. Common examples of non-volatile memory include hard drives, flash memory, optical disc, etc.

Comparison table

volatile memory nonvolatile memory
Definition Volatile memory is the type of computer memory that is temporary in nature. It stores the data inside it only until power is supplied. Nonvolatile memory is the type of computer memory that is permanent in nature. The data stored in that type of memory remains there even after the system is turned off.
Stored data Volatile memory stores data for programs currently being processed by the CPU. Frequently used data and information about the process is stored in volatile memory. Non-volatile memory stores data from the basic boot process of the computer system’s BIOS. All types of media and data that need to be stored permanently or for a longer period.
effects Volatile memory has effects on system performance. The more storage space there is in volatile memory, such as RAM and cache, the more efficient system performance will be. Non-volatile memory has effects on system storage. The more storage space, the more amount of data can be stored in the computer system and can be stored permanently.
Speed Volatile memories are nature’s fastest memories. They contain frequently used data within them and the data is accessed faster than all. Nonvolatile memories are relatively slow compared to volatile memories. Data accessed from non-volatile memory is slow compared to volatile memory.
Example Common examples of volatile memory include computer RAM, cache, etc. Common examples of non-volatile memory include computer ROM (secondary storage, hard drive), optical storage disks, flash memory, etc.
What is volatile memory?

Volatile Memory is the kind of computer memory that stores data temporarily. It is also referred to as temporary memory. The data in the volatile memory is stored only until the power is supplied to the system, once the system is turned off the data present inside the volatile memory is deleted automatically. RAM and cache of the computer system are the best common example of the volatile memory. Volatile memory due to its temporary nature its stores only the frequently used data. The data of the programs running on the processor is stored in volatile memory. It is quite fast and efficient in nature and can be accessed rapidly. Volatile memory is directly linked to the performance of the computer system. The more amount of volatile memory the more effective performance the computer system will possess.

What is nonvolatile memory?

Non-volatile memory is the type of computer memory that stores data permanently. Data stored in non-volatile memory remains there even after the system is powered off. Computer ROM is non-volatile memory. It is not as efficient and fast in nature as compared to volatile memory but stores data for a longer period. Non-volatile memory has basic system information inside it, such as boot process information, system boot information, and BIOS. Nonvolatile memory is slow to access. All data that needs to be stored permanently or for a longer period is stored in non-volatile memory. Non-volatile memory has a direct impact on the storage capacity of the system.

Volatile Memory vs. Non-Volatile Memory
  • Volatile memory is the temporary memory of the computer system.
  • Non-volatile memory is the permanent memory of the computer system.
  • Data from programs in process and frequently used data are stored in volatile memory.
  • System information, BIOS, and all other types of data are stored in non-volatile memory.
  • Volatile memory is fast and efficient in nature.
  • Nonvolatile memory is slow and permanent in nature.

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