The Difference between RAM and Hard Drive


The Difference between RAM and Hard Drive

Have you ever wondered the difference between your computer’s storage space and its memory? Often, this appears to be confusing, with the overlapping terminologies, you may seem not to know the difference.  However, the Random Access Memory (RAM) is a temporary storage while the hard drive is the permanent computer storage, it lets you store data for a very long time, and its capacity is measured in Terabytes (TB) or Gigabytes (GB).

So, what is a RAM?

The RAM is a kind of computer storage that requires electricity to keep information, and as such, it is a volatile memory (this means all the data in the RAM is lost if there is no power).

It doesn’t allow you to store personal data; rather it is used for storage of computer data. It reads and writes data, and will continue to save the memory unless the system shuts down. The hard disk is a predictable memory that lets a user store and erase data; your ability to store in it depends on its size. All data stored on the hard disk doesn’t clear during and after usage. The RAM does clear itself after a program has been used.

What is a Hard Drive?

When it comes to memory capacity, the hard disk starts where RAM stops; this means that hard disk size is always bigger than RAM. Currently, RAM size ranges from 256MB to 32GB. The size of the hard drive that is accessible spans from 500GB to 8TB. The hard disk is more like a machine that with different parts like the writer and reader module while RAM is a minor (silicon) chip consisting of circuits.

How to increase storage on my computer

The RAM does not allow you to attach external RAM if you are running short of RAM. The hard drive lets you add an external hard disk to improve your disk space. Also, you can choose to change it out entirely and add a higher capacity one. Having an external disk attached when your hard drive is storing more and more data ensures that your storage capacity increases without any loss of files or data.

However, the size of the hard drive you wish to attach to your system depends on the power necessary to run a computer with added storage, as well the physical space it will use.

How to speed up your computer

One of the primary purposes of RAM is to speed up your computer’s performance; this means that your system will perform slower when its RAM is little (limited). However, the underlying aim of the hard disk is for storage of information, and having a smaller capacity hard drive may not affect your system speed.

Whenever tasks are performed, the CPU sends and fetches program instructions and data to and from the RAM. User data will be transferred to the hard drive as part of these operations.

The memory in use during an operation is from RAM because the RAM is way faster than the hard drive. The RAM is faster and data is transferred from the hard drive to RAM to ensure the CPU only deals with the fastest access of data possible.

If there is the need for an additional RAM, you don’t have to update to a new version of Windows, but if you require changing your computer’s hard disk, you can only achieve that after getting a fresh window on. There is the need to know the difference between these the RAM and hard drive; this broadens your knowledge about the use of computers and its terminologies.

If you wish to learn more about Computer Engineering, we recommend you to start with a Level 5 New Zealand Diploma in Information Technology and Technical Support