Primary Memory vs Secondary Memory, Characteristics, Differences

Primary Memory vs Secondary Memory, Characteristics, Differences Memory is the main component of every system that stores data and instructions. Computer memory is mainly divided into two parts: primary and secondary memory. Primary memory is the main memory of the system, and is often random access memory (RAM) and is used to store data that the CPU needs to access quickly. Secondary memory is other memory in the system. It is used to store data that the CPU does not need to access immediately, which is usually in the form of a hard drive, solid-state drive, or detachable storage device (such as a USB drive).

Primary Memory vs Secondary Memory

Today in this post, we will tell you the difference between primary and secondary memory. But along with the differences, we will also give you information about their features and their types.

What is Primary Memory?

Primary memory is also called the main memory of a computer system. Data is accessed quickly from primary memory as it is stored in the internal memory of the computer. Primary memory is volatile memory. It does not store data during power failure, meaning data does not remain in primary memory. In terms of cost, primary memory is more expensive than secondary memory. It has less capacity than secondary memory and is very limited.

Semiconductor memory and primary memory act as main memory. Compared to secondary memory, it is more expensive. Primary memory has less storage capacity and is always smaller than secondary memory. It stores information that the central processing unit can access directly.

Primary memory is basically of two types:-

  1. RAM (Random Access Memory)
  2. ROM (Read Only Memory)

Characteristics of Primary Memory

  • First, a computer cannot perform any task without primary memory.
  • Second, primary memory is the main memory of the computer system.
  • Third, data is not stored if the power goes out.
  • Another name for primary memory is volatile memory.
  • It is the working memory of the computer system.
  • Primary memory is faster than secondary memory.

What is Secondary Memory?

Secondary memory is another type of computer memory. Secondary memory stores data that must be preserved permanently. The CPU cannot access secondary memory data directly, and data is first copied to primary memory before processing it through the CPU. As a result, accessing data from secondary memory takes longer. Secondary memory is accessed through input-output channels.

Secondary memory is also called non-volatile memory, which means that its data remains even after the power is turned off. It is optical or magnetic memory, which is cheaper than primary memory. Secondary memory is always larger than primary memory as an external memory. Computer can function even without secondary memory. Secondary memory includes hard disk, CD, DVD, floppy disk, etc.

Types of Secondary memory :-

  1. Hard Disk (HD)
  2. Floppy Disk (FD)
  3. Compact Disk (CD)
  4. Digital Versatile Disk (DVD)

Characteristics of Secondary Memory

  • Secondary memory is magnetic and optical.
  • Secondary memory is also called backup memory.
  • It is a non-volatile type of memory.
  • Data is stored indefinitely even if the computer’s power is lost.
  • It helps in storing data on the computer.
  • The machine can run even if there is no secondary memory.
  • Secondary memory is slower than primary memory.
  • Hard Disk 

Hard disks are storage devices that can store large amounts of data. Hard disks are often called hard disk drives. Hard disks come in a variety of storage capacities (for example, 256 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB). It is made up of platters, which store the data on the disk. The platters are stacked on top of each other and covered with a magnetic coating. Each platter is a series of invisible circles, each of which has a corresponding core track. Hard disks are classified into two types: internal and external.

  • Floppy Disk

It is a magnetic disk that is contained in a square plastic box. Its main purpose is to store information and then transfer it from one system to another. Floppy disks come in two sizes (1) Size: 3.5 inch, Storage Capacity: 1.44 MB (2) 5.25-inch display and 1.2-MB storage capacity. A system has a floppy disk drive to use floppy disks. DVDs, CDs and flash drives have mostly replaced this type of storage media.

  • Compact Disk

A compact disc is a molded plastic disc containing digital data that is scanned by means of a laser beam to reproduce recorded sound and other information. Since its commercial introduction in 1982, the audio CD has almost entirely replaced the phonograph disc (or record) for high-fidelity recorded music.

  • Digital Versatile Disk 

DVD stand for Digital Versatile Disk or Digital Video Disk. It is an optical disc capable of storing up to 4.7 GB of data, six times more than a CD. DVDs are often used to store movies of better quality than VHS.

Difference Between Primary Memory vs Secondary Memory

Primary Memory Secondary Memory
Primary Memory is a Temporary Memory.  Secondary Memory is a Permanent Memory. 
Primary Memory is directly accessible data by CPU.  Secondary Memory is not directly accessible data by CPU.
Primary Memory is both Volatile and non Volatile Memory. Secondary Memory is non- volatile Memory.
Primary Memory also known as main Memory. Secondary Memory also known as auxiliary Memory. 
Primary Memory more Costly then Secondary Memory.  Secondary Memory Cheaper than Primary Memory.
Primary Memory is a Internal Memory. Secondary Memory is a External Memory.
Primary Memory size are Small than Secondary Memory. Secondary Memory Size are largest.
Primary Memory are accessed via the data bus. Secondary Memory are accessed via the Input Output Channel.
The memory devices used for primary memory are semiconductor memories.
Secondary memory devices are magnetic and optical memory
Types of Primary Memory:-
1. RAM
2. ROM
Types of Secondary Memory:-
                                    1. Hard Disk
                                    2. Floppy Disk
                                    3. Compact Disk
                                    4. Digital Versatile Disk
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