Primary Storage

When the computer operates normally, its memory contains the main pieces of your operating system and/or the application programmes with their data, which are being used. Quite frequently, memory is a synonym for random access memory, shortened RAM. This type of memory is on one, maybe more microchips which are physically closer to the computer’s microprocessor. The more RAM, the less frequently your computer has to request data and instructions from the slower hard disk means of storage.

Memory is to be distinguished from storage, which is the physical medium holding the larger pieces of data which will not fit into the RAM. Storage is called auxiliary storage, secondary memory and auxiliary memory.

The internal memory, also called main memory and primary storage, is a storage device which holds memory for shorter periods of time as the computer works. Computer RAM and the cache are examples of primary storage devices. These storages are the fastest memory holders in the computer and are used to store data as it is being processed. If you open a program, its data gets moved in the primary storage from the secondary memory.

The primary storage devices are high speed devices so that the CPU can access them directly. They are called inboard memory, as well. The information in them is in nature volatile – meaning the information in them is retained only when the computer is on. When the computer system gets turned off, the data in the main memory is deleted. Primary memory devices are quite costly and require much space. The most common medium is RAM, which is where the OS, the applications running and data in use are placed to be quickly accessed by the processor. RAM is faster to read and write than other means of storage in a computer like Hard and Floppy Disks or the CD-ROM. However, turning the computer off, makes the RAM lose its data. The operating system and other files are loaded into the RAM, from the hard disk when the power is on. Computers with a large amount of RAM often perform faster because the CPU does not have to idle and wait for data from the slower components and information is quickly stored. RAM has two types - the Static RAM and the Dynamic RAM. The ROM is also a primary storage device. Abbreviated for read only memory, it is non volatile, being a permanent storage, and its contents cannot be altered. There are 3 types of ROM –EEPROM, EPROM and PROM. Cache memory is also a primary storage device. This memory resides close to the central processing unit and is small and extremely fast. Retrieving data from the cache takes less time than it would take to access a file from the main memory.