Difference Between Volatile Memory and Non-Volatile Memory

Main Difference

Volatile Memory refers to the temporary memory in the computer that only contains data until power is supplied, once the system is turned off the data present in the memory is lost. RAM (Random Access Memory) of the computer system is the common type of volatile memory as it only stores data of the current ongoing processes in it and as the system is turned off the data in the RAM vanishes. Non-Volatile Memory is the type of computer memory that stores the data permanently even after the power is off. Secondary storage or ROM is the kind of Non-volatile memory as the data stored in them is saved even after the system is turned off. Common examples of the Non-volatile memory includes hard discs, flash memory, optical disc, etc.

Comparison Table

Volatile MemoryNon-Volatile Memory
DefinitionVolatile Memory is the type of computer memory that is temporary in nature. It stores the data inside it only until the power is supplied.Non-Volatile Memory is the type of computer memory that is permanent in nature. The data stored in such kind of memory remains there even after the system is turned off.
Data StoredVolatile memory store data of the programs that are currently in process by the CPU. Frequently used data and information about the process is stored in Volatile memory.Non-volatile memory store data of the basic booting process of the computer system BIOS. All kind of media and data that has to be saved permanently or for the longer period.
EffectsVolatile Memory has effects on the system’s performance. The more storage space on the volatile memory such as RAM and cache, the more efficient will be the performance of the system.Non-Volatile Memory has effects on the system storage. The more storage space, the more amount of data can be stored in the computer system and can be stored permanently.
SpeedVolatile memories are the fastest memories in nature. They contain frequently used data inside them and data is accessed from them quickest than all.Non- Volatiles memories whereas are relatively slow as compare to volatile memories. The data accessed from non-volatile memory is slow as compared to volatile memory.
ExampleCommon Examples of volatile memory includes the RAM of the computer, Cache, etc.Common Examples of the Non-volatile memory includes ROM ( Secondary Storage, Hard disc) of the computer, optical storage discs, flash memory, etc.

What is Volatile Memory?

Volatile Memory is the kind of computer memory that stores data temporarily. It is also referred as temporary memory. The data in the volatile memory is stored only until the power is supplied to the system, once the system is turned off the data present inside the volatile memory is deleted automatically. RAM and cache of the computer system are the best common example of the volatile memory. Volatile memory due to its temporary nature its stores only the frequently used data. The data of the programs running on the processor is stored in volatile memory. It is quite fast and efficient in nature and can be accessed rapidly. Volatile memory is directly linked to the performance of the computer system. The more amount of volatile memory the more effective performance the computer system will possess. Common examples of the volatile memory include RAM, Cache, etc.

What is Non-volatile Memory?

Non-volatile Memory is the kind of computer memory that stores the data permanently. The data stored in the non-volatile memory remains there even after the system is turned off. ROM of the computer is the non-volatile memory. It is not that much efficient and fast in nature as compare to volatile memory but stores data for the longer period. Non-volatile memory possesses the basic system information inside it such as the boot process information, system starting up information and BIOS. Non-volatile memory is slow regarding accessing. All such data that needs to be stored permanently or for a longer period is stored in non-volatile memory. Non-volatile memory has a direct impact on the system’s storage capability. The more non-volatile memory, the more permanent storage space will be there. Common examples of non-volatile memory include a hard drive, optical discs, flash memory, etc.

Volatile Memory vs. Non-Volatile Memory

  • Volatile Memory is the temporary memory of the computer system.
  • Non-volatile Memory is the permanent memory of the computer system.
  • Data of programs in the process and frequently used data is stored in volatile memory.
  • System’s information, BIOS and all the other kind of data is stored in non-volatile memory.
  • Volatile memory is fast and efficient in nature.
  • Non-volatile memory is slow and permanent in nature.

Comparison Video

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Harlon Moss

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

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