What is volatile memory and what is non-volatile memory? If you are interested in them and want to know the difference between volatile vs non-volatile, then you are in the right place. In this post, MiniTool has listed all the answers to these questions.

What Is Volatile Memory?

What is a volatile memory? As computer memory, it requires power to maintain stored information. And it retains its contents when power is applied, but when power is interrupted, the stored data will be quickly lost.

Random-access memory or RAM is the most common type of volatile memory. There are two types of volatile RAM: dynamic (DRAM) and static (SRAM). As long as the power is turned on, SRAM can retain its content and is easy to interface, but uses six transistors per bit. The interface and control of dynamic RAM are more complicated, and periodic refresh cycles are required to prevent its content from being lost.

Computers and other electronic devices use RAM for high-speed data access. The read/write speed of RAM is usually several times faster than that of mass storage devices (such as hard drives or SSDs).

When the computer starts, the built-in operating system is loaded into RAM. Similarly, when you open an application on your computer or mobile device, the application will be loaded into RAM. Loading the operating system and active applications into RAM can make them run faster.

What Is Non-Volatile Memory?

Non-volatile memory (NVM) or non-volatile storage is a type of computer memory that is very popular in digital media, and the stored information can be retrieved even after the power is turned off.

Examples of non-volatile memory include flash memory, read-only memory (ROM), ferroelectric RAM, most types of magnetic computer storage devices (for example, hard drives, floppy disks, and magnetic tapes), optical disks, and early computer storage methods such as paper tape and punched card.

Non-volatile memory is often used for secondary storage or long-term consistent storage, and this eliminates the need for relatively slow types of secondary storage systems (including hard drives).

Volatile VS Non-Volatile Memory?

After getting some basic information about volatile memory and non-volatile memory, this part focuses on volatile vs non-volatile memory. You can know the difference between volatile memory vs non-volatile memory from 9 aspects.

Volatile Memory

Non-Volatile Memory

Data Retention

The data exists until there is power.

Even if there is no power, the data is still retained.


Not permanent.








Data Transfer

Data Transfer is easy in Volatile Memory.

Data Transfer is difficult in Non-Volatile Memory.

CPU Access

The CPU can access data stored in volatile memory.

CPU can access the data if the data is copied from non-volatile memory to volatile memory.


Volatile memory has less storage capacity.

Non-volatile memory has a very high storage capacity.


Volatile memory such as RAM has a great impact on system performance.

Non-volatile memory has no impact on the system’s performance.


The cost of volatile memory per unit size is high.

The cost of volatile memory per unit size is low.


Volatile memory chips are usually kept in memory slots.

The non-volatile memory chip is embedded on the motherboard.

Final Words

To sum up, this post has introduced what the volatile memory and non-volatile memory are. What’s more, you can also get some information about volatile vs non-volatile memory.

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