There are mainly two types of memory, volatile and non-volatile. The computer system uses volatile memory for increasing its performance; hence it is probably the most important one of all the memories that you should know about. Volatile memory provides quick access to data to the CPU whenever asked for. The more is the capacity of volatile memory; the better is the system performance. There are different kinds of volatile memory; for example- random access memory (RAM) and cache memory are the main ones. You will learn about these and their different versions also in a detailed manner in this article.
What is Volatile Memory?
Volatile memory is one kind of primary memory that loses its memory upon disconnecting the power supply. Hence volatile memory is also known as temporary memory. You cannot use this type of memory for storing a large volume of memory. It is used by the CPU for quick access to information. That’s why volatile memory is a performance enhancer for your PC.
Volatile memory is mounted outside of the motherboard, generally on a memory slot. You can check your memory through your OS or by observing the slot. As soon as you open up an app or software or you just click on the mouse for whatever reason, the CPU starts its function by summoning volatile memory at the very moment. The things that you do frequently on your PC are stored on volatile memory so that it can provide quick information asked by the CPU.
Types of Volatile Memory
Among the various kinds of memory, volatile memory exists in various kinds and forms in the computer world. Some of the types are- RAM (S-RAM, D-RAM, and V-RAM), cache memory, HDD and SSD disk cache, etc. You can gather more insights about these volatile memories in the following section of the article.
RAM – Random Access Memory
The full form is Random Access Memory. RAM is the most popular type of volatile memory; in fact, you may be surprised to know that many use the term ‘RAM’ as the other name of the volatile memory.
The function of RAM largely depends on the power supply. The memory of RAM is erased whenever power is switched off. The CPU randomly accesses information written on a RAM. It’s a quick component of the memory system which has a low memory capacity on the other side of things. The cost of a RAM per unit size is much more than non-volatile memory.
Random Access Memory (RAM) can be further classified into more types like S-RAM (Static), D-RAM (Dynamic), and V-RAM (Video). These are basically categorized according to how they use memory slots and transistors for storing bits.
S-RAM or Static RAM is the simplest one. It does not require any kind of refreshing work. S-RAM is only used for quick access of information; not for any kind of memory storage. Comparing with D-RAM, S-RAM is much quicker.
D-RAM or Dynamic RAM is actually the updated version of S-RAM. It requires periodical refreshing for proper function. D-RAM is more complex in its build and function. It is less expensive than S-RAM and serves as the main working memory.
V-RAM or Video RAM is used for displaying images and graphics in a complex way. V-RAM is particularly handy when we talk about games, 3D images, or high-quality video files. If you are a game lover you must know that V-RAM is the one that is responsible for your high-quality gaming experience.
Cache memory is another types of volatile memory that work as an intermittent between the RAM and the CPU. It is in fact the fastest memory of all the volatile memories. The size is much smaller compared to RAM. But you will be surprised to find out that the speed of cache memory increases when the data storage is more; it definitely does not work like a human.
The processor always tries to access information as quickly as possible. As cache stores frequently used information on its memory, hence the processor finds it easier to load data from here rather than going to the main memory.
HDD Disk Cache
Hard Disk Drive (HDD) cache is a kind of volatile memory that is embedded on a hard disk drive for speeding up the internal memory of the computer. It uses a small part of RAM for transferring information quickly to the microprocessor.
SSD Disk Cache
SSD cache enhances system performance by rendering quick access of memory on Solid State Drive (SSD). It is very useful for the CPU in the sense that searching information on hard drives is no longer required as it is very time-consuming for the CPU.
Volatile memory is an integral part of a computer’s memory system. It does all the invisible work behind the scene. After reading this article, from now on you will certainly understand and appreciate the fact that RAM and cache are the ones that constantly help you to find out the asked information with each and every click on your mouse or keyboard.