Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Difference Between Primary Memory Storage and Secondary Memory Storage

Memory is very similar to our brain because it is used to store data and instructions. Computer memory is the storage space in which data is processed and stores the instructions required for processing. Memory is divided into a number of small pieces called cells. Every cell/location has a unique address and size.

The two types of memory are:

  • Primary memory
  • Secondary memory

In this tutorial, you will distinguish between primary and secondary memory and learn the following:

What is primary memory?

Primary Memory is the main memory of the computer system. Accessing data from the primary memory is fast because the primary memory is the internal memory of the computer. Primary memory is the most volatile, so if no data is saved in the event of a power failure, there will be no data in primary memory.

The primary memory is a semiconductor memory. It costs more than secondary memory. The capacity of the primary memory is very limited and is always smaller than the secondary memory.

There are two types of primary memory:

RAM (Random Access Memory)

Random access memory, also known as RAM, is commonly known as the main memory of a computer system. This is called temporary memory or cache memory. The information stored in this type of memory is lost when you turn off the power to your PC or laptop.

ROM (read-only memory)

Abbreviation for read-only memory. ROM is a persistent type of memory. The contents are not lost even if the power is turned off. The ROM information is determined by the computer manufacturer and is permanently stored at the time of manufacture and cannot be overwritten by the user.

What is secondary memory?

All secondary storage devices that can store large amounts of data are called secondary memory. Slower than primary memory. However, you can save a significant amount of data, ranging from gigabytes to terabytes. This memory is also known as backup storage or mass storage media.

Secondary memory type:

Large capacity storage device:

Magnetic disks provide inexpensive storage and are used in both small and large computer systems.

Types of magnetic disks:


Solid state drives provide persistent flash memory. Very fast compared to hard drives. It is commonly found on mobile phones and is rapidly being adopted by PCs/laptops /Macs.

Optical drive:

This secondary storage device is for reading and writing data with the help of a laser. Optical discs can hold up to 185 TB of data.


USB drive:

It is one of the most popular types of secondary storage devices available on the market. The USB drive is removable, rewritable, and physically very small. With 1TB pen drives on the market today, the capacity of USB drives has also increased significantly.

Magnetic tape:

This is a serial access storage device that can store very large amounts of data. Usually used for backup.

Main differences

  • Primary memory is also known as internal memory, and secondary memory is also known as backup memory or auxiliary memory.
  • Primary memory can be accessed from the data bus, while secondary memory can be accessed from the I/O channel.
  • Primary memory data is accessed directly by the processing unit, but secondary memory data is not directly accessible by the processor.
  • Comparing the primary storage device and the secondary storage device, the primary storage device is more expensive than the secondary storage device, while the secondary storage device is cheaper than the primary storage device.
  • Distinguishing between primary and secondary memory, primary memory is both volatile and non-volatile, while secondary memory is always non-volatile.

Characteristics of primary memory

  • Computer cannot run without primary memory
  • This is known as the main memory.
  • Data may be lost when the power is turned off
  • Also called volatile memory
  • The working memory of the computer.
  • Primary memory is faster than secondary memory.

Characteristics of secondary memory

  • These are magnetic and optical memories
  • Secondary memory is called backup memory
  • Non-volatile type memory
  • Your data will be saved forever even if you turn off your computer
  • Useful for storing data on your computer
  • Machine can run without secondary memory
  • Slower than primary memory

Primary memory and secondary memory

The differences between primary and secondary memory are as follows:

Priyanka Sharma
Priyanka Sharma
Myself Priyanka, I Love Writing, SEO, and Graphic Design. I'm regularly contributing my knowledge/news on the leading websites.

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