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Characteristics of Memory Devices

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What are Memory and Memory Devices?

Let us analyze this situation before we get into the topic. A boy named Bunny has to attend his annual examinations. So he took help from Vedantu, prepared well and gave his best in the exams. On the result day, it is noted that Bunny has topped the exam. How can Bunny remember all the answers? Yes! You are right Bunny remembered all the answers he learnt as it was stored in his brain.

Similarly, on a computer, we can save or store any type of data like images, audio clips (such as songs), videos, and text (such as PDFs, notes, etc). But do you think that the computer has a brain like humans? Yes! Computers do have brains but they are called memory devices of computers or storage devices of computers. Whereas the data that is stored is called memory.

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Two Types of Memories

The storage devices of computer can be divided into two types,

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  • Primary Memory: The primary memory is fixed to the motherboard of the computer hence it is the main memory. The CPU can directly access this memory. 

  • RAM: Random Access Memory. It is temporary storage and is also called read or write memory. When the power is switched off this memory can be lost. Hence it is called Volatile memory.

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  • ROM: Read-Only Memory. It is permanent memory. When the power is switched off the data is not lost. Hence called non-volatile memory.

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  • Secondary Memory: It is also called auxiliary memory. The secondary memory is the permanent memory and the data will be stored inside a device till we erase it. It can store data in large amounts. 

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Characteristics of Memory Devices

  • Location: The memory can either be stored externally with the help of some devices or internally.

Examples of primary memory devices are internal devices and secondary memory devices are external devices.

  • Capacity: The amount of data a device can store is called capacity. It can be varied for both internal and external devices. It is measured as a byte (1 byte = 8 bits, 1 bit is either 0 or 1). 

  • Access Method: The way of searching the storage devices is called the access method. It is of four types

  • Direct Access Method or Direct access memory

  • Sequential Access Method or Sequential access memory

  • Random Access Method or Random access memory

  • Associative Access Method or Associative access memory

  • Unit of Transfer: The measure of data is different in internal and external devices. In internal devices, it is measured as the number of electrical signals that are moving in and out of the device. In external devices, it is the number of bits moved inside and out.

  • Performance: The most important feature of a memory system is performance. The performance of any memory device depends upon the rate at which data is transferred, the time taken by the device to carry out the process and the access time.


  • The computers cannot understand human language such as Kannada, English, Hindi, etc. But they have their own language called machine language or binary language. It can be written as a set of 0’s and 1’s. These are also called bits.

  • The first-ever hard disk was released by IBM and its size was of a refrigerator. 

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Today, without computers it would be difficult to lead a life since all information is stored in them. Thus the invention of storage devices is a boon for people working in various fields. All the storage devices are being evolved along with the changes taking place in technology.

Learning by Doing

1. From the given picture group them into primary and secondary memory devices.

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2. Solve the given puzzle.

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FAQs on Characteristics of Memory Devices

1. List down the computer storage devices examples.

Some of the memory devices are,

  • Magnetic Memory Devices: Example: Floppy disks, hard drives, zip disks, and magnetic strips.

  • Optical Memory Devices: Examples include CD, blu ray disk, and DVD.

  • Flash Memory Devices: Examples include USB drives, memory cards, memory sticks, and SD cards.

  • Online cloud storage

2. What are the differences between ROM and RAM?

ROM and RAM are the main types of primary storage devices that are already built on the motherboard.



It is a permanent storage device.

It is a temporary storage device.

It can store large amounts of data.

Only a small amount of data can be stored.

It is non-volatile in nature.

It is volatile in nature.

We can write data fastly.

It is slower compared to ROM.

3. Write about the magnetic tape.

Magnetic tape is a medium that is used for the storage of data. It is a narrow strip of plastic that has been coated with a magnet. It can be used to store data on the hard disk or to record something using recording tape.