What does Volatile and Non-Volatile Memory actually mean?

Volatile Vs Non-Volatile Memory

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Photo by Liam Briese on Unsplash

Despite both Volatile & Non-Volatile memory are related to each other and are from the same background, there are many differences between these terminologies that might get confusing to many individuals who are new to Information Technology. Adding to that, the architectures that they use turned out to be different. Therefore, they both have some key differences to consider that are equally important. So, in this blog, I will be elaborating on the main differences between them.

In computing, memory refers to the devices which are used to store various data and information. The term primary memory is used for high-speed functioning (i.e. RAM), with storage systems as a difference from secondary memory. Generally, secondary memory has a slower accessing program and data storage but comprises of higher memory capacity. Furthermore, using a memory storage technique called “virtual memory,” the main memories can be stored in secondary memory when appropriate.

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What is Volatile Memory?

Volatile memory is a computer memory which needs the power to hold the information stored. The most modern volatile memory of semiconductors is either static RAM (i.e. SRAM) or dynamic RAM (i.e. DRAM).

If the power is connected, SRAM retains its contents and is easy to interface. In comparison to SRAM, Dynamic RAM (DRAM) is more complicated to interface with and control and requires regular refresh cycles to avoid loss of content.

However, DRAM only uses one transistor and one condenser per bit, allowing it to reach much higher densities, and being much cheaper per bit with more bits on a memory chip.

SRAM is popular in small embedded systems which may require just tens of kilobytes or less. Z-RAM, TTRAM, A-RAM, and ETA RAM include new dynamic memory systems that aim to substitute or compete with SRAM and DRAM.

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What is Non-Volatile Memory?

Non-volatile memory is computer memory that even while not driven or no power is supplied, will hold the stored information.

Examples of non-volatile memory include read-only memory (see ROM), flash memory, most types of magnetic computer storage devices (such as hard disks, floppy disks, and magnetic tape), optical disks, and early computer storage methods such as paper tape and punched cards.

Forthcoming non-volatile memory technologies include FeRAM, CBRAM, PRAM, SONOS, RRAM, NRAM, Racetrack, and Millipede memories.

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So, what is the key difference between Volatile and Non-Volatile Memory?

Here, understating in simpler terms, the main difference between Volatile and Non-Volatile Memory is that Volatile Memory needs electricity or current to store data. However, in Contrast, Non-Volatile memory doesn’t need any of the requirements like in Volatile Memory.

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