Difference between Memory and Storage



Memory and Storage are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different things. Memory is used to store data that is being actively used by the CPU, while Storage is used to store long-term data that needs to be accessed on a regular basis.

Read this tutorial to learn more about Memory and Storage and how they are different from each other.

What is Memory?

Memory allows storing data on a short term basis. A memory normally is made up using registers. Each register has a location called memory location or storage location. Each memory location is identified by an address. The capacity of a memory is determined by the number of bits a memory can store.

The following are the three major types of memory −

  • Cache memory

  • Primary memory

  • Secondary memory

Memory, also known as RAM (random access memory), refers to the short-term data storage capacity of a computer. It is used to store data that is being actively used or processed by the computer's central processing unit (CPU). Memory is volatile, which means that it is wiped clean when the power is turned off.

What is Storage?

Storage allows storing data on a long term basis. Whenever a program needs data, the data is copied from storage to memory and is used. Storage is used to store application programs, operating systems, data files for a long period.

The following are the major types of storage in a computer system −

  • HDD

  • SDD

  • SD Cards

  • Micro SD Cards

  • CD, DVD

  • Blue ray disk

Storage, also known as hard drive or mass storage, refers to the long-term data storage capacity of a computer. It is used to store files, programs, and other types of data that need to be accessed on a regular basis. Storage is non-volatile, which means that it retains data even when the power is turned off.

Difference between Memory and Storage

The following are some of the important differences between Memory and Storage −

Key

Memory

Storage

Basis

Memory stores data on a temporary basis. Once the system is powered off, data goes away.

Storage stores data on a permanent basis. Data persists even if the system is powered off.

Speed

Memory is quite faster than Storage.

Storage is slower as compared to memory.

Component

Memory is made up of registers and is very fast.

Storage is made up of magnetic strips/parts and is slower than a memory.

Size

Memory size is quite small as compared to storage and is generally in MB or few GB.

Storage is very large in size and is in GB or a few TB.

Data access

Memory is a component that accesses the data instantly.

Storage cannot change or access data as fast as memory.

Types

Types of memory are – cache memory, primary memory, and secondary memory.

Types of storage include – HDD, SSD, CD, DVD, Floppy Disk, Magnetic Taps, Blue Ray Disc, etc.

Cost

The cost of memory is relatively high.

The cost of storage is lesser than memory modules.

Conclusion

The most important point that you should note here is that Memory is made up of registers and is very fast, whereas Storage is made up of magnetic materials, optical materials, semiconductor materials and it is comparatively slower than a memory.


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