Memory

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  • Memory
    • RAM
      • Main memory
        • Where all data, files and programs are stored while in use
      • Volatile
        • Requires power to retain data
      • When a computer boots up, the operating system is copied from secondary storage to RAM
      • Slower than CPU cache, but much faster than secondary storage
      • When software applications, documents and files are opened, they are copied from secondary storage into RAM
    • Virtual Memory
      • When RAM is full, it moves unused data to a location on secondary storage (known as virtual memory)
      • Can be used if too many applications are open at once
        • Or if a memory-intensive application is in use
      • Data must be moved back to RAM for the CPU to read it
        • This is very slow
        • If this is done often, a computer can become slow to respond
    • ROM
      • Non-volatile
        • Keeps contents when there is no power
      • Comes on a small chip built into the motherboard
      • Contains the BIOS - the instructions that a computer needs to boot up
        • Basic Input Output System
          • The BIOS is a type of firmware

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