Syllabus Detail

  •  Types of primary and secondary storage RAM, ROM, cache, HDD, SSD. 11 ATAR



  • Storage (AKA memory) is the holding of retrievable data on a computer system.
  • This includes files, folders and other data such as photos and songs.


Random Access Memory (RAM) is on the motherboard. (see below under primary storage)

Read Only Memory (ROM) is on the motherboard and is used to store details that are needed at startup. Usually it is the black thin rectangles that you can see on a motherboard such as this one at wikipedia

 Cache is memory that is usually located within the CPU and because of this it is the fastest memory in access or seek time. (but it is only small- hence RAM comes into existance)

What is Primary Storage?

  • Primary storage is memory that is on the motherboard. It is directly accessible by the CPU. This includes memory such as RAM (random access memory) and the cache.
    • Primary storage is volatile, meaning once the computer system is turned off, the information stored is lost.
    • Primary storage is very fast, but small in size and expensive.


What is Secondary Storage?

  • Secondary storage is memory that is connected to the motherboard by cables or plugs. It is used to store large amounts of data permanently. This includes hard drives, solid-state drives and optical discs.
    • Secondary storage is non-volatile, meaning the data is kept even when the system is turned off.
    • Secondary storage is much cheaper than primary storage and can hold much more data.


For You to Do

  1. Draw a motherboard. On and around this motherboard draw the different types of memory/storage.
  2. Write next to each one how fast they can access or seek the CPU. See here for help.



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