Difference Between Hard Disk vs. RAM

Primary Difference

Components of a computer as abundant in number and perform different tasks. All the parts of a computer are essential and play an important role in the working of the system. Some parts are visible to the person who is using the computer while other parts are hidden from the naked eye, therefore, some confusions arise when it comes to finding which part plays a more critical role and what is the function of the particular part. Two such parts who are of importance and are interrelated are known as a hard disk and RAM. Both have different functions and can be related but there are many differences between the two. While explaining the two terms. The hard disk is a data storage device which is used to store and access information which is present on the machine. It is also known as HDD, which stands for hard disk drive. All the information is entered on the device by the user who wants to keep it at a place where it can be accessed at any time. RAM, on the other hand, stands for Random Access Memory and it is a is part of the computer which lets the information to be stored and obtained at any instant of time during when the computer is working. In more technical terms random access memory means all the data which is present on the RAM in the form of bytes can be read quickly without interfering with other system files. Another way of showing the difference between the two is that there is more space available on a hard disk as compared to the RAM because hard disk is the place where all the information is being placed while random access memory is only going to reach that location so there is no requirement of abundance of memory. In other terms, the memory which is present on the hard disk is physical memory in the form of pictures, videos and documents while the memory of system is the one used by the RAM which is mostly virtual. In simple words hard disk stores the memory while RAM accesses that memory. There are many other differences too which will be explained at the end while a brief description of two types is given in the next two paragraphs.

Comparison Chart

Hard DiskRAM
Full NameSame as AboveRandom Access Memory
DefinitionThis is a data storage item which is used to store and access information which is present on the devicepart of a computer that allows the information to be stored and retrieved at any time during the running of various processes.
Spacehard disk has a large amount of space available for datahas a small memory space.
Memorymemory on the hard disk is physicalMemory in the case of RAM is a virtual memory

Definition of RAM

RAM stands for Random Access Memory is part of a computer that allows the information to be stored and retrieved at any time during the running of various processes. In more technical terms random access memory means all the data which is present on the RAM in the form of bytes can be read quickly without stirring the other system bytes. It is different from read only memory in which you can only read the memory but cannot retrieve it. There is two primary type of RAMs which are DRAM known as Dynamic Random Access Memory and SRAM, which is known as Static Random Access Memory. Both have their own uses, but while DRAM has to be refreshed at a higher speed, SRAM does not read any refreshing and is faster than dynamic RAM. The first type used transistors to store the data. The role of RAM is simple, when the computer starts to work most of the memory of the operating system is present on the hard disk and are loaded instantly through RAM. After that, all the applications and web pages that are opened have their own memory and needs to be reached quickly so it is shifted to random access memory.

Definition of Hard Disk

This is a data storage device which is used to store and access information which is present on the device, it is entered into the device by the user who wants to keep it at a place where it can be accessed at any time. This can be done in the form of folders and files while information such as documents, videos, audio and even pictures. The structure is simpler where the rotating disks are placed which is coated with magnetic material. These are connected with magnetic heads which are placed on the moving arm that helps to read and writing the data. This data is accessed through RAM which means the information which is present on the device can be opened without any proper sequence. It was first introduced in 1956 and has increased its space over the years. It has been produced by more than 150 companies over the years but the most famous ones are Seagate and Toshiba. The size of normal HDD is 3.5 inches for computers while the size for a laptop is around 2.5 inches. USB are the devices which have originated from the hard disks and gaining popularity.

Differences in a Nutshell

  1. The main difference is the memory; hard disk has a large amount of space available for data while RAM has a small memory space.
  2. The hard disk is used to store data while RAM is used to access data.
  3. Memory in the case of RAM is a virtual memory while memory on the hard disk is a physical
  4. Nothing can be stored in a RAM while information can be stored on hard disk.
  5. RAM is known as Random Access Memory while the hard disk is written as HDD.
  6. All the system files are stored on the hard drive while there are no system files present in the random access memory.
  7. Information can be arranged in the hard drive while there is no possibility of arranging memory on RAM.

Comparison Video

Conclusion

Computer architecture is something that is a mystery for people who are general users and do not have a detailed knowledge of it. The two terms Hard disk and RAM are similar ones which are considered same but are different in the working and functions. This article, therefore, gives a proper understanding of the two types for people to get a clearer idea.

Posted in: IT

Author:

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Turpy Media. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss or on Pinterest @HarlonMoss

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