Designer’s Hardware Essential III


Designer’s Hardware Essential [Memory]

memory-332492_960_720A quick overview of memory and hard drive

1.What is computer memory?
2. What is RAM?
3. What is local disk C:?
4. What are SSD and HDD?

1. What is computer memory?

Computer memory is a physical device capable of storing data.

1.1 Volatile vs. non-volatile memory

Volatile memory loses its content when the computer is power off. Non-volatile memory will not lose its content even when the power is off.

2. What is RAM?

Random Access Memory (RAM) is a type of computer memory. It is a volatile memory that stores information on an integrated circuit used by operating system, software, and hardware.


2.1 What is the difference between memory and hard drive?

Both RAM and hard drive are memory, but RAM is categorized as “primary memory” (higher processing speed) while the hard drive is categorized as “secondary memory.”

2.2 How is memory used?

When a program such as Chrome or Photoshop is open, computer will load from your hard drive and place into RAM, which allows computer to communicate with your CPU at higher speed. However, if you save a photo or movie, your computer stores it on the hard drive.

3. What is local disk C:?

Local disk C is the default system disk

Local disk C: is a hard drive. A computer can have multiple hard drives but the disk C is the most essential disk, known as system disk, where it stores the operating system and programs.


4. What are HDD and SSD?

SDD is flash-based while HDD is disk-based

A hard disk drive is a type of hard drive which stores data with one or more rigid rapidly rotating disks (like CD). The disk is paired with a magnetic head to read and write data to the disks’ surface.


A solid-state drive is a type of hard drive which stores data with integrated circuit chip (like USB flash).

4.1 How to choose SSD and HDD?

SSD’s reading and writing speed outperform HDD

HDD reads and writes data by rotating disks, its performance is limited to a physical maximum and it easily generates heat. Because there is no rotating mechanism and reading & writing functions digitally, SSD is silent and fast.


The only advantage of HDD is its relatively cheap price.


A 2TB Hard Disk Drive



A 2TB Solid State Drive


Therefore, for a large amount of data storage like saving movies or photos, HDD is a better choice, while for a faster reading and writing speed, SSD is better used as system disks.


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