What's the difference between flash memory and conventional RAM?

Even though vendors refer to flash memory and conventional RAM -- the "main memory" of your PC or server -- as solid-state memory, these two memory types are very different.

We're talking about two types of memory. Flash memory is low-cost and it retains data when power is removed (nonvolatile), but its performance is also slow. Conventional RAM -- the "main memory" of your PC or server -- is much faster, but it's a bit more expensive and requires constant power. These two memory types are very different, but vendors may refer to both as "solid-state memory," so consider what you're buying.

Memory has a huge part to play in future drive designs as both a power-saving and performance-boosting tactic. For example, we'll likely see laptops with hybrid drives offering flash memory so that the laptop can boot without actually spinning the hard drive. We're also seeing high-performance disk drives with DDR RAM. Texas Memory Systems can package 1 terabyte (TB) of solid-state memory in a 24U cabinet. Flash and RAM memory prices continue to fall, so hybrid and solid-state drives will become more economical into the future.

Go back to the beginning of the Disk Hardware FAQ Guide.


This was last published in May 2007

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Hello, I am very new to the IT world currently a couple weeks into my A+ certification training course and can't seem to wrap my head around the basics of ROM, RAM, solid state drives, and hard drive disk. For starters I'm trying to understand whats the difference between flash memory and static ram/static ROM?
Well, I'm not necessarily a high tech expert, but ROM is obviously Read Only Memory (like CD ROM's and DVD's, I think, maybe blu-ray also), while flash is USB and the likes. RAM is Random Access Memory and so on. There used to be EPROM in the past, a semiconductor type of memory, but you can get more info here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Read-only_memory