The debate of which is better, RAM or CPU is always one the hot topics among techies. Noting the significant differences between the two shall help settle the war of words once and for all.
- RAM (Random Access Memory) is a temporary storage for data, while the CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the primary component for processing instructions.
- A higher RAM capacity allows for more efficient multitasking and quick access to data, whereas a faster CPU improves overall system performance.
- RAM is volatile memory, losing its contents when power is turned off; in contrast, the CPU is a permanent component responsible for executing tasks.
RAM vs CPU
RAM stands for random access memory, and it is the memory that can be accessed immediately or randomly, and it is used to store memory to enable programs to run. CPU stands for central processing unit and it helps in processing the memory of a computer to enable it to fully run a program.
Another difference between RAM and CPU is that RAM, or Random Access Memory, is the short-term memory storage. In contrast, the CPU or Central Processing Unit is the processor that carries out all the functions by pulling in the required information from RAM.
The RAM stores all data concerning the functions that are going in the present while the CPU retrieves this information, processes it and delivers it back to RAM. In other words, if RAM is the oil tank of a car, the CPU is the car’s driver. RAM and CPU collaborate for a successful run of the operating system.
|Parameter of Comparison
|Random Access Memory
|Central Processing Unit
|Stores memory for programs running
|Processes memory to carry out the program
|Number of programs running at a time
|Speed of launching a program
|Usage at idle
|Factors affecting performance
|Memory, processing and bus speed, etc.
|Cores, the more number of cores, the better its performance
What is RAM?
As the name suggests, RAM is Random Access Memory, i.e. the memory that can be accessed randomly or immediately. The latest computers have a RAM of 2.5 to 4 GB.
RAM stores the memory that allows processors to access swiftly while carrying out functions to run a program. The number of programs a computer can run at a time depends upon the capacity of RAM.
RAM is of two main types:
- SRAM or Static Random Access Memory
- DRAM or Dynamic Random Access Memory
SRAM stores data statically and does not require refreshing data every once in a while. It is a semiconductor-based memory that stores data in cross-coupled flip-flops.
It is faster than DRAM but loses memory once power is switched off. This version of RAM is also more costly.
DRAM refreshes stored data frequently, but its data is retained even after power is cut. This is also a semiconductor-based memory that stores data in the transistors’ memory cells.
They are cheap and are most commonly used RAM in computers, workstations and servers.
What is CPU?
CPU is a computer’s main component that performs its functions by processing the information it receives. Processing the information allows for a program or an application to run.
A traditional CPU consists of only one processor, but with the rising demand for speed, the demand for faster processors was a necessity that couldn’t be overlooked. And so, dual and quad-core processors replaced the typical single-core processors.
Technological advancements have now developed hexacore and even octa-core processors installed in the latest machinery. However, a CPU has two parts, the ALU or Arithmetic Logic Unit and a CU or control unit.
The Control unit is responsible for decoding the instruction, whereas the Arithmetic Logic Unit is the part that is responsible for executing the instruction. The result of this process is then either presented on the screen or performed internally.
CPU has various types, architecture (32bit and 64bit), speeds and capabilities. CPUs are now developed by various companies such as AMD, NVIDIA, Motorola, and Samsung, but the first to develop the CPU was Intel, which remains one of the best in the industry.
Main Differences Between RAM and CPU
- The main difference between Ram and CPU is that RAM is a temporary memory storage unit, whereas CPU is the central processing unit in a computer.
- RAM is responsible for the number of programs or applications a computer can run simultaneously, while CPU is responsible for the speed of launching a program or application.
- RAM stands for Random Access Memory, while CPU stands for Central Processing Unit.
- RAM’s performance is determined by memory space, processing speed and the computer’s bus speed, while the number of cores present determines the performance of a CPU.
- The usage of RAM when idle is about 50%, whereas that of CPU is 0.8% to 10%.
Last Updated : 11 June, 2023
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Sandeep Bhandari holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Computers from Thapar University (2006). He has 20 years of experience in the technology field. He has a keen interest in various technical fields, including database systems, computer networks, and programming. You can read more about him on his bio page.