Primary Memory vs. Secondary Memory

The difference between primary memory and secondary memory is that primary memory in a computer is directly accessible by the processor or CPU whereas secondary memory in a computer is not directly accessible by the processor.

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Primary Memory vs. Secondary Memory

The memory of any computer system plays a very important role, CPU has registers these registers can store 32 bit of any number. There are 32 registers, and these registers are used to store data. There are types of memory; one is a primary memory and secondary memory. The main memory of the computer system is a primary memory. The instructions that are to execute currently are stored in primary memory because these instructions are directly used. CPU can directly use registers from main memory for the execution of these instructions. The access of data is accessible, and the accessibility of data in main memory is very fast as compared to secondary memory.  Main memory is also known as internal memory; data bus is used to access the data from internal memory.  The primary memory is volatile whereas secondary memory is not volatile.

Primary memory in a computer is directly accessible by the processor or CPU whereas secondary memory in computer is not directly accessible by the processor. The main memory in computer is primary memory in which the data that is currently working is stored and this is the most important component of computer system. The secondary memory is also known as auxiliary memory, in auxiliary memory the data that is to be stored for long time in stored in auxiliary memory. The only difference is the access to memory by CPU.In volatile memory, data is not saved permanently because sometimes power is gone. Primary memory is a semiconductor memory; secondary memory is less expensive than primary memory. The data of primary memory is very limited, and the limitation of primary memory is less than secondary memory. Secondary memory is also known as auxiliary memory, the data that is supposed to be stored permanently in computer memory is stored in secondary memory. The data in secondary memory is not directly accessible by ROM.  The data is first copied to primary memory and then then is stored in secondary memory. The accessibility of data from secondary memory is very slow as compared to primary memory. The secondary memory is a non-volatile memory as the data is savedthe  even when power is lost. There are types of primary memory such as RAM that is random access memory and ROM that is read only memory. RAM that is random access memory can read and write memory that data that is to be currently executed in is stored in RAM. The data in RAM is directly accessible. RAM is volatile memory as data is lost as power is lost. ROM on the other hand is read only memory, the value that is stored in ROM can be altered that’s why it is known as read only memory. When the system is booted ROM is used to boot the system. There are types of ROM that are EPROM, EROM, PROM. There is a magnetic memory that is also known as optical memory in secondary memory, and these are cheaper than primary memory. The secondary memory is not important for the proper working of the computer system. Hard disk, floppy disk, CD and DVD are examples of secondary memory.

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Comparison Chart

BasisPrimary MemorySecondary Memory
MeaningPrimary memory in a computer is directly accessible by the processor or CPUSecondary memory in a computer is not directly accessible by the processor.
VolatilePrimary mema ory is volatileSecondary memory is non-volatile
Made ofPrimary memory is made of semiconductorsSecondary memory is made of magnetic tapes
ExampleExample of primary memory is RAM, ROM.Examples of secondary memory are a hard disk, floppy disk, CD, DVD

What is Primary Memory?

The main memory of the computer system is a primary memory. The instructions that are to execute currently are stored in primary memory because these instructions are directly used. CPU can directly use registers from main memory for the execution of these instructions. The access of data is accessible, and the accessibility of data in main memory is very fast as compared to secondary memory.  Main memory is also known as internal memory; data bus is used to access the data from internal memory.  The primary memory is volatile whereas secondary memory is not volatile. In volatile memory, data is not saved permanently because sometimes power is gone. Primary memory is a semiconductor memory; secondary memory is less expensive than primary memory. The data of primary memory is very limited, and the limitation of primary memory is less than secondary memory. There are types of primary memory such as RAM that is random access memory and ROM that is read only memory. RAM that is random access memory can read and write memory that data that is to be currently executed in is stored in RAM. The data in RAM is directly accessible. RAM is a volatile memory as data is lost as power is lost. ROM, on the other hand, is read only memory, the value that is stored in ROM can be altered that’s why it is known as read only memory. When the system is booted, ROM is used to boot the system. There are types of ROM that are EPROM, EROM, PROM.

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What is Secondary Memory?

Secondary memory is also known as auxiliary memory, the data that is supposed to be stored permanently in computer memory is stored in secondary memory. The data in secondary memory is not directly accessible by ROM.  The data is first copied to primary memory and then then is stored in secondary memory. The accessibility of data from secondary memory is very slow as compared to primary memory. The secondary memory is a non-volatile memory as the data is saved even when power is lost. There is a magnetic memory that is also known as optical memory in secondary memory, and these are cheaper than primary memory. The secondary memory is not important for the proper working of the computer system. Hard disk, floppy disk, CD and DVD are examples of secondary memory.

Key Differences

  1. Primary memory in a computer is directly accessible by the processor or CPU whereas Secondary memory in a computer is not directly accessible by the processor.
  2. Primary memory is volatile whereas Secondary memory is non-volatile
  3. Primary memory is made of semiconductors whereas Secondary memory is made of magnetic tapes.
  4. Example of primary memory is RAM, ROM whereas examples of secondary memory are a hard disk, floppy disk, CD, DVD

Conclusion

In this article, we see the difference between primary memory and secondary memory with examples.

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Explanatory Video

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