Main memory is also included on the microprocessor chip. Main memory holds Data, instructions, or results and passes them to and from the CPU. Main Memory is commonly called RAM – Random Access Memory. RAM is VOLITILE memory, this means it is transient or it is dependent on a continuous electrical current. If the power to the computer is shut off that all data held in main memory is lost. RAM memory must be large enough to hold all of the instructions necessary for the computer to run whatever program is being executed. The larger the amount of RAM memory the more complex of instructions that can be run at one time. RAM is measured in megabytes – approximately one million bytes of data. Today’s programs generally require a minimum of 256 megabytes of RAM.
ROM – Read only memory is another type of memory within the computer. ROM is memory that can only be read from, it cannot be edited or deleted. It generally contains the instructions for the computer to perform a self test when it is turned on to ensure all components are working and the instructions on how to load the operating system into RAM memory to allow the computer to operate. ROM is programmed when the computer is manufactured.
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