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CACHE MEMORY, also called CPU memory, is random access memory (RAM) that a

computer microprocessor can access more quickly than it can access regular RAM.

memory and is lost when the power is turned off whereas ROM in non-volatile and the
contents are retained even after the power is switched off.

As the microprocessor processes data, it looks first in the cache memory and if it finds the
data there (from a previous reading of data), it does not have to do the more timeconsuming reading of data from larger memory.

Random Access Memory or RAM is a form of data storage that can be accessed
randomly at any time, in any order and from any physical location in contrast to other
storage devices, such as hard drives, where the physical location of the data determines
the time taken to retrieve it. RAM is measured in megabytes and the speed is measured in
nanoseconds and RAM chips can read data faster than ROM.

Cache memory is fast and it is expensive. It is categorized in levels that describe its
closeness and accessibility to the microprocessor. Level 1 (L1) cache, which is extremely
fast but relatively small, is located close to the processor. Level 2 (L2) cache is located halfway between the process and the system bus; it is fairly fast and medium-sized. Level 3
(L3) cache is relatively large and close to RAM.

Differences in use
RAM allows the computer to read data quickly and efficiently to be able to run applications
efficiently, whereas ROM stores the program required to initially boot the computer and
perform diagnostics. RAM is a common type of memory found in computers and printers,
and can go up to a few gigabytes. ROM is usually only a few thousand bytes of storage in
personal computers. RAM is primary memory and volatile
Different Types of RAM vs ROM

Memory cache can work under three different configurations: direct mapping, fully
associative and set associative. With direct mapping each block is mapped to exactly one
cache location. With fully associative mapping, each block is mapped to any cache
location. With set associative, each block is mapped to a subset of cache locations.

In a computer, a register is one of a small set of data holding places that are part of a
computer processor. A register may hold a computer instruction, a storage address, or any
kind of data (such as a bit sequence or individual characters). Some instructions specify
registers as part of the instruction. For example, an instruction may specify that the
contents of two defined registers be added together and then placed in a specified register.
A register must be large enough to hold an instruction - for example, in a 32-bit instruction
computer, a register must be 32 bits in length. In some computer designs, there are
smaller registers - for example, half-registers - for shorter instructions. Depending on the
processor design and language rules, registers may be numbered or have arbitrary names.

Read-only memory or ROM is a form of data storage in computers and other electronic
devices that cannot be easily altered or reprogrammed. RAM is referred to as volatile

The main types of RAM include static RAM (SRAM), dynamic RAM (DRAM). Static RAM is
more expensive and has more capacity for storage than dynamic RAM that has to be
refreshed more often, and is thus slower.
ROMs are integrated circuits that contain data and most often cannot be altered. There are
some types that can be somewhat modified that include programmable ROM (PROM),
erasable programmable ROM (EPROM), electrically erasable programmable ROM (EEPROM)
and Flash, which is a type of EEPROM. PROM is a type of ROM that can be programmed
only once by a special device and uses high voltages. EPROM can be rewritten using UV
radiation, whereas EEPROM can be rewritten electrically and such devices do not require to
be removed from the computer. Flash drives are modern version of EEPROM and fastest to
erase and rewrite. Some other common types of ROM are CD-ROM, CD-R and CD-RW which
is used to store media and music files.

Comparison chart



Random Access Memory or RAM

is a form of data storage that can
be accessed randomly at any
time, in any order and from any
physical location. Allowing quick
access and manipulation.

Read-only memory or ROM is also a form

of data storage that cannot be easily
instructions that are not necessary for rebooting up to make the computer operate
when it is switched off. They are

Random Access Memory

Read-only memory

RAM allows the computer to read

data quickly to run applications. It
allows reading and writing.

ROM stores the program required to

initially boot the computer. It only allows


RAM is volatile i.e. its contents

are lost when the device is
powered off.

It is non-volatile i.e. its contents are

retained even when the device is
powered off.


The two main types of RAM are

static RAM and dynamic RAM.

The types of ROM include PROM, EPROM





space of a platter. Each platter stores information in tracks. You can think of the tracks as
circular rings that are etched out the platter - magnetically of course. And in these rings,
the data bits are recording linearly. The more bits that are packed along the tracks, the
more data can be stored.
Spindle: Each platter is stacked together on top of a spindle. The motor that spins the
platters rotate at a specific speed. The most common is 5,400RPM (Rotations per Minute).
High-end hard drives that are used in workstations and or servers can spin at 7,200RPM,
10,000RPM or even 15,000RPM. The faster the platters rotate, the faster the read/write
head can obtain data - the destination sector arrives under the read/write head faster. The
spindle motor uses ball-bearings to rotate around. Using ball bearings produces faster and
smoother operation than brush-less motors. The spindle is one of the most sensitive parts
of the hard drive. If it receives a significant amount of shock, a bearing may be shot lose
from the bearing ring that holds the bearings.
Actuator: The actuator is responsible for moving actuator arms which hold the
read/write heads precisely with a specific track and sector. The actuator is one of the
most important parts of the hard drive that determine the speed of the drive and how
many bits it can pack on its platters. The actuator must align the read/write head precisely,
if not, data read and write errors can occur.
The read/write head is attached to the ends of the actuator arms. It looks like the heads
are touching the platters. But in actuality, they are "flying" above the platters using a
cushion of air created by the spinning platters. This thin layer of air is what prevents the
heads from coming in contact with the platters. The heads are extremely close to the
platters. An excessive shock to the drive during operation can mean disastrous outcomes.
Also, remember how we mentioned that these components are sealed in a dust-free
chassis? If the heads are flying only about 2 microns above the surface of the platter, can
you imagine the consequences if any small particle were to come between the head and

Read\Write Heads: The heads are responsible for writing to the drive and reading from it.
They write data by arranging the magnetic particles on the surface of the platters. When
arranged in one direction, the particles will produce a northern polarity and when arranged
in the other direction, they will produce a southern polarity. When reading from the
platters, the head will detect the polarity of the particles and translate that into electrical
signals and send the signals back to the on-board hard drive controller.

Platter: These are metal alloy discs that are coated with an aluminum alloy or glass
substrate. The traditional material is aluminum alloy but these days, newer hard drives are
coated with a glass substrate because it provides greater durability. This is where the hard
drive stores information. All your data is stored using magnetic polarity differences.
Areal Density: Areal density is the amount of data that can be packed in a square-inch of

Controllers: The hard drive controller is attached on the exterior of the hard drive
chassis. It contains DSP (Digital Signal Processors) chips that control dataflow, etc. It also
contains cache modules to keep frequently used data close at hand. The mini PCB inside

Magnets: You may think that placing a magnet near a hard drive will destroy the data
inside. This is true. But what you may not know is that there are two very strong magnets

inside of the drive. The magnets are located inside the actuator. One is on top of the
actuator arms and the other one is underneath. The reason why these magnets do not
affect the platters is that the magnetic field on the magnets lie on a vertical axis. If they
were on a horizontal axis, the field would stretch onto the platters, destroying the data.
Another reason is that the magnetic signals recorded on the platters aren't any regular
magnetic fields but they are electro-magnetically recorded. Electro-magnets are many
times more stronger than natural magnets.



The flash drive looks small and compact. Yet it is able to store an incredibly huge amount
of information. The video below shows the three basic components of a flash drive:

The board holds all of the internal components and includes the USB connector.
The flash drive uses the board as a means of transferring power and data to and
from the USB.


The NAND Flash memory storage chip is the place where all our files are


The controller chip is the brain of the flash drive.


USB Connector: USB (Universal Serial Bus) acts as an interface between the
NAND flash memory chip and the computer the flash drive is plugged into.


USB mass storage controller (or the controller chip): explanation above


Test points: These are electrical pins that serve only as electrical contact points.
They are primarily used to electrically stimulate and exercise the flash drive during
the assembly process serving as a means of identifying any defects on the board.
Think of it as a cost-effective way of Quality Control.

Retrieves information from the drive and


NAND flash memory chip: explanation above

Reading/recording information on the NAND flash memory storage chip.


Crystal Oscillator: It is a piece of quartz crystal designed to vibrate at a very

particular frequency. It is used as a digital clock.


LED indicator light: Used to indicate if the flash drive is working and functioning


Write-protect switch: An optional component used to safeguard the information

saved on the flash drive.


Space to put a second NAND flash memory chip: An additional slot for
manufacturers to put another memory chip which can increase the storage