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Memory and Storage
 

Computers store data in two different places, using two different technologies. People frequently confuse the two.
 
 
 
 
1. Memory

Data are stored here temporarily. Most memory is volatile: when power is lost, data that's stored in memory is lost.
 
Most modern computer memory consists of semiconductors on chips. Each chip is packaged in a dual in-line package (DIP).
 
 
 
 
Each DIP is soldered to a memory module or "stick". Memory sticks contain 8, 9, or more DIPs and plug into connectors on the computer motherboard.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Memory consists of millions of cells, with one bit per cell. Each cell contains either a 1 (One) or a 0 (Zero). RAM (random access memory) is called that because the CPU can randomly access any cell, without reading through any other cells first.
 
Memory cells are arranged in a logical matrix of rows and columns. Each cell resides at a unique address that consists of the intersection of a row and a column.
 
 
The CPU (central processing unit) has direct access to every cell in memory.
 
 
2. Storage

Data that are stored here remain here even after power is lost. (This is called non-volatile storage.)
 
Most data storage is performed by spinning disks.
 
The CPU must access data that are stored on disk by first reading or writing data in memory. Reading and writing stored data is much slower than reading and writing memory.
 
 
 
 
Interior of a hard drive
The disk spins at thousands of RPMs.