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Difference between Volatile Memory and Non-Volatile Memory

Last Updated : 21 Feb, 2023
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Volatile Memory: 
It is the memory hardware that fetches/stores data at a high-speed. It is also referred as temporary memory. The data within the volatile memory is stored till the system is capable of, but once the system is turned off the data within the volatile memory is deleted automatically. RAM (Random Access Memory) and Cache Memory are some common examples of volatile memory. Here, data fetch/store is fast and economical. 

Non-Volatile Memory: 
It is the type of memory in which data or information is not lost within the memory even power is shut-down. ROM (Read Only Memory) is the most common example of non-volatile memory. It’s not economical and slow in fetch/store as compared to volatile memory however stores higher volume of data. All such information that needs to be stored for an extended amount of time is stored in non-volatile memory. Non-volatile memory has a huge impact on a system’s storage capacity. 

Below are the differences between volatile and non-volatile memory:

S. No. Volatile Memory Non-Volatile Memory
1. Volatile memory is the type of memory in which data is lost as it is powered-off. Non-volatile memory is the type of memory in which data remains stored even if it is powered-off.
2. Contents of Volatile memory are stored temporarily. Contents of Non-volatile memory are stored permanently.
3. It is faster than non-volatile memory. It is slower than volatile memory.
4. RAM(Random Access Memory) is an example of volatile memory. ROM(Read Only Memory) is an example of non-volatile memory.
5. In volatile memory, data can be easily transferred in comparison to non-volatile memory. In non-volatile memory, data can not be easily transferred in comparison to volatile memory.
6. In Volatile memory, process can read and write. In Non-volatile memory, process can only read.
7. Volatile memory generally has less storage capacity. Non-volatile memory generally has more storage capacity than volatile memory.
8. In volatile memory, the program’s data are stored which are currently in process by the CPU. In non-volatile memory, any kind of data which has to be saved permanently are stored.
9. Volatile memory is more costly per unit size. Non-volatile memory is less costly per unit size.
10. Volatile memory has a huge impact on the system’s performance. Non-volatile memory has a huge impact on a system’s storage capacity.
11. In volatile memory, processor has direct access to data. In non-volatile memory, processor has no direct access to data.
12. Volatile memory chips are generally kept on the memory slot. Non-volatile memory chips are embedded on the motherboard.


  • Fast speed
  • Low power consumption
  • Better system performance as it increases speed


  • More reliable
  • Stores data permanently
  • Inexpensive memory
  • Helps in booting of operating system


  • Expensive
  • Limited storage space
  • Stores data temporarily


  • Slow speed
  • Can only read data

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