What Is Primary Storage

What Is Primary Storage?

What is Primary Storage– is referred to as the main memory or internal memory which is located in the motherboard of the CPU. Primary memory stores the data program instructions which are currently in use. A CPU continuously reads, stores the instructions, and executes them according to its requirements.

What Is Primary Storage
What Is Primary Storage

Primary storage is also referred to as an in-built memory that is required for giving instructions, storing, and accessing the data for smooth functioning. The size of primary memory is smaller than the size of secondary storage devices.

What Is Secondary Storage?

Secondary storage works alongside the computer’s primary storage, RAM, and cache memory. Moreover, these storage devices store any type of program, application, or any amount- megabytes to petabytes of data.

As it can consist of items like the operating system, device drivers, applications, and user data. 

For example, internal secondary storage devices include the hard disk drive, the tape disk drive, and the compact disk drive.  

Secondary storage is considered non-volatile or long-term storage. This storage system stores the data for a long period. Without secondary memory, data will be lost when the system is shut down.

Types Of Primary And Secondary Storage Devices

There are different types of primary and secondary storage of devices that is differentiated by its purpose and its working. So, to understand every different type of primary and secondary storage device, let’s discuss each example of primary and secondary memory.

Types Of Primary And Secondary Storage Devices
Types Of Primary And Secondary Storage Devices

Types Of Primary Storage Devices

Primary storage devices are built to build memory in the motherboard, which is classified into separate types of primary memory which have their separate purpose and function. Here are the different types of primary storage devices to understand what is primary storage.

Read-Only Memory (ROM)

ROM stands for read-only memory, it is used to store data permanently as it is non-volatile as we discussed earlier in what is primary storage. It is a programmable chip that contains all the instructions that are most required when starting a computer. This process is known as “Bootstrap”. ROM is not limited to computers because these chips are used in other equipment like washing machines and microwaves as well.

The read-only designation means that these instructions can only be read by the computer and cannot be changed by the user.

An example of ROM is the instructions needed to start or “boot” the computer after it has been shut off.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

RAM stands for random access memory. It is used to access any data in any location of the computer. As this memory is volatile means the RAM is a temporary memory. Because all the data I deleted once the computer was turned off.

RAM regains all data from the CPU in run-time and sends it to the control unit, and it is the fastest memory to the hard disk.

While a user is working on any file it will temporarily store the data. It allows using the system freely. Like, as opening applications, loading webpages, editing a document, or playing games. Moreover, it allows the user to jump from one task to another without losing progress.

Flash Memory

Flash memory, also known as flash storage, is a type of nonvolatile memory as we discussed earlier in what is primary storage. That erases data in units called blocks and rewrites data at the byte level. Flash memory is widely used for storage and data transfer in consumer devices, enterprise systems, and industrial applications. Flash memory retains data for an extended period, regardless of whether a flash-equipped device is powered on or off.

Cache Memory

Cache memory is a temporary memory that is high speed and is used to store the data which is used more often and the processor to can access it more rapidly than the main memory (RAM). As this memory holds the information of frequently requested data. So, that the data is immediately available to the CPU. Cache memory is faster than RAM because the instructions travel a shorter distance to the CPU.

An example of this is using the Internet and a web browser. The cache will store the website’s HTML, images, and other information so that a page will load more rapidly after its first visit.

Types Of Secondary Storage Devices

Secondary storage is needed to save data as long as it has neither been deleted nor overwritten. In this way, even if power is lost and all of the data on the primary storage has been lost, the user will still be able to recover the last saved version of the concerned file. Here are the different types of secondary storage devices. In order to understand as what is primary storage and how it is different from secondary storage.

Hard Drive

It is such a  secondary storage device that permanently stores and retrieves data. As these hard drives are non-volatile. Plus the primary function of a hard disk is to store data which can be operating systems, applications, documents, personal files, and so on. 

Secondly, the storage of data in a hard drive is measured in gigabytes or terabytes.

Solid State Drive

As being the secondary storage device it is also non-volatile memory. So, it is mostly used in holding and accessing data. 

Because they have faster access, higher reliability, noiseless operation, and very low power consumption. 

They typically use a SATA connection, having a maximum transfer rate of 750 MB per second. The new generation SSD now connects to the motherboard’s PCIe port and offers a transfer speed of up to 1.5 GB per second. 

Universal Serial Bus

It is a portable secondary storage device and is often the size of a human thumb. Universal Serial Bus connects via the USB port of the computer. It is also known as the data stick, pen drive, keychain drive, thumb drive, and USB flash drive. They are the easiest way to transfer data from one computer to another as well as an excellent device to store a huge amount of data. They offer storage ranging between 2 GB and 1 TB.

USB flash drives do not have any moving parts. Instead, they have an integrated circuit, having an embedded memory chip to store data.

Optical Secondary Storage

CDs and DVDs are one of the most common and popular optical storage mediums. These disks can execute or retrieve data for later usage. They can even store software, save backup files as well as store music and videos.

A standard CD is capable of storing 650 MB of data or 72 minutes of music. Generally, 80 minutes of CD contains 700 MB of data. However, a standard DVD has the capability of storing much more data than that of a typical CD.

DVDs come in different storage capacities, starting from 4.7 GB to a maximum of 17.08 GB. It must be noted that there isn’t any significant difference between the CD and DVD, except the storage capacity.

Difference Between Primary And Secondary Storage

The primary and secondary storage are very different in nature. So, in order to understand what is primary storage. Here is the difference between primary and secondary storage.

Primary MemorySecondary Memory
What is primary memory also known as main or internal memoryAlso Known as external or auxiliary memory
Data is directly accessed by the processing unitData is first transferred to the main memory and then routed to the processing unit.
Semiconductor chips are used to store information in primary memory.Magnetic disks, and optical disks, are used to store information in secondary memory.
Information stored is temporary and it can be lost when there is a sudden power cut. Information stored is permanent unless one deletes it intentionally.
Data is operated and stored in a uniform mannerThe data stored is not uniform in secondary memory.
Primary memory devices are more expensive than secondary storage devices.Secondary memory devices are less expensive when compared to primary memory devices.
The nature of parts of primary memory varies. RAM- volatile. ROM- non-volatile.It is a little slow in interacting with a microprocessor.
Primary memory has limited storage capacity.Whereas secondary memory can store built amounts of data in a single unit.
primary storage vs secondary storage

So, it was all the pointers in primary storage vs secondary storage. And here is the end of our blog, what is primary storage It was everything to know about primary and secondary storage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

what is a primary storage ?

Primary Storage– is referred to as the main memory or internal memory which is located in the motherboard of the CPU.

what is main memory of computer ?

Main memory of a computer can also be called as primary memory. it is also known as random access memory that is RAM . when computer is shut down all the data in RAM is erased. 

what is primary memory in computer ?

Primary memory is computer memory that a processor or computer accesses first or directly. Cache memory temporarily stores frequently used instructions and data.

What is the secondary memory of computer?

Secondary memory is computer memory that is non-volatile, persistent and not immediately accessible by a computer or processor. It allows users to store data and information that can be retrieved, transmitted, and used by apps and services quickly and easily. Secondary storage is another name for secondary memory.

What are the primary types of computer memory?

Computer memory is of two basic types – Primary memory(RAM and ROM) and Secondary memory (hard drive, CD, etc). 

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