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SRAM vs. DRAM: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 13, 2023
SRAM (Static Random Access Memory) is fast and expensive, retaining data without periodic refreshing. DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) is slower and cheaper, needing periodic refreshing to retain data.

Key Differences

SRAM (Static Random Access Memory) and DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) are two fundamental types of RAM (Random Access Memory) used in computers and other electronic devices. SRAM uses bistable latching circuitry to store each bit, resulting in a faster memory. In contrast, DRAM stores bits in cells made of a capacitor and a transistor, which are simpler in design.
SRAM, given its design, can retain the stored information as long as power is supplied to the system, without the need for a periodic refresh. DRAM, on the other hand, stores data as charges in capacitors, which leak over time. Therefore, it requires a periodic refresh to maintain the stored data.
When it comes to speed, SRAM is generally faster than DRAM. This speed comes at a cost, making SRAM more expensive per bit than DRAM. Hence, DRAM is often used for main system memory in computers, while SRAM is used in cache memories which require higher speeds.
In terms of density, DRAM has the advantage. Because its cells are simpler and use less space, more DRAM cells can fit on a chip compared to SRAM. This makes DRAM more suitable for providing larger amounts of memory at a lower cost, while SRAM, due to its speed, is more suited for smaller, faster cache memories.

Comparison Chart

Basic Design

Bistable latching circuitry
Capacitor and transistor

Refresh Requirement

No periodic refresh needed
Requires periodic refresh




More expensive per bit
Cheaper per bit


Lower density
Higher density

SRAM and DRAM Definitions


SRAM is a type of volatile memory that retains data without needing periodic refreshes.
The processor's cache often uses SRAM due to its high speed.


DRAM is a type of volatile memory that requires periodic refreshing to maintain stored data.
Your computer's main RAM is usually made of DRAM.


SRAM is typically faster but more expensive than DRAM.
High-performance applications may incorporate SRAM for swift data retrieval.


DRAM stores data using a combination of transistors and capacitors.
As capacitors in DRAM leak charge, the data must be refreshed periodically.


SRAM uses flip-flop circuits for each memory cell.
Due to its flip-flop design, SRAM can quickly access data.


DRAM is typically slower but offers more storage for the cost than SRAM.
For bulk memory needs, DRAM offers a cost-effective solution.


SRAM is commonly used in cache memories of processors.
The computer's CPU leverages SRAM for its Level 1 cache to enhance speed.


DRAM consumes less power per bit compared to SRAM.
Mobile devices benefit from DRAM's power efficiency.


SRAM's design makes it consume more power than DRAM.
Battery-operated devices might limit SRAM usage to conserve energy.


DRAM's cells are simpler and denser than SRAM cells.
Due to its dense structure, DRAM is ideal for main system memory.


Static RAM.


A unit of weight in the US Customary System equal to 1/16 of an ounce or 27.34 grains (1.77 grams).


A unit of apothecary weight equal to 1/8 of an ounce or 60 grains (3.89 grams).


Why is SRAM faster than DRAM?

SRAM's design using bistable latching circuitry allows for quicker data access than DRAM's capacitor-based design.

What does DRAM stand for?

DRAM stands for Dynamic Random Access Memory.

Why is SRAM more expensive than DRAM?

SRAM's complex cell design and faster speed make it more expensive per bit compared to DRAM.

Why does DRAM need refreshing?

DRAM stores data in capacitors, which lose charge over time, requiring periodic refreshing to retain data.

What does SRAM stand for?

SRAM stands for Static Random Access Memory.

Is SRAM used as main system memory?

No, SRAM is typically used in cache memories due to its speed and cost, while DRAM is used as main system memory.

Is SRAM non-volatile?

No, both SRAM and DRAM are volatile memories, meaning they lose stored data when power is turned off.

How does the need for refreshing affect the performance of DRAM?

The need for periodic refreshing in DRAM can introduce latency, affecting its performance compared to SRAM.

Which memory type consumes more power, SRAM or DRAM?

SRAM generally consumes more power per bit than DRAM.

Is all computer RAM made of DRAM?

While most of the main system memory in computers is DRAM, computers also use SRAM, especially in cache memories.

Can SRAM replace DRAM?

While SRAM is faster, it's more expensive and less dense than DRAM, making DRAM more suitable for main memory and SRAM for caches.

Why don't we use only SRAM in devices if it's faster?

The cost and power consumption of SRAM make it prohibitive for use as the main memory in most devices.

Is there a noticeable performance difference between SRAM and DRAM in daily tasks?

For most daily tasks, the difference might not be noticeable, but for high-performance tasks, SRAM's speed can be beneficial.

Are there applications where the difference between SRAM and DRAM is negligible?

For basic tasks or applications where memory speed isn't a critical factor, the difference between SRAM and DRAM might be negligible.

How do devices compensate for DRAM's slower speed?

Devices often use a mix of DRAM for main memory and faster SRAM for caches to balance speed and cost.

Can DRAM be used as cache memory?

While it's possible, SRAM's faster speed makes it more suited for cache memory.

Are there newer types of RAM that might replace SRAM or DRAM?

New memory technologies are always in development, but as of now, SRAM and DRAM remain dominant for their respective uses.

Which memory type is more affected by physical size limitations, SRAM or DRAM?

SRAM, due to its more complex cell design, is more affected by size limitations compared to the simpler DRAM cells.

Do both SRAM and DRAM come in different speeds and sizes?

Yes, both SRAM and DRAM are available in various speeds and sizes, tailored to different applications.

What makes DRAM more suitable for larger memory capacities?

DRAM's simpler cell design allows for higher density, making it suitable for larger amounts of memory at a lower cost.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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