The Difference between Memory and Storage

What is the Difference between Memory and Storage is a common question among PC enthusiasts. Many people often misuse these two words and confuse their meaning. They tend to use these two words in place of another. Though they might sound similar, in reality, they are different from each other. The main difference between these two components is how they store data. Memory stores data temporarily whereas, storage stores data permanently.
In this article, we will discuss the difference between a memory stick and a storage device and how they are different from each other. So, without further ado, let us dive right in.
Before knowing the difference between these two devices and directly comparing them to each other, let us know what these two devices are exactly.

What is memory?

Computer memory or RAM( random access memory) is a device that can temporarily store data. The operating system of your device or any application you run on it, it uses the RAM( random access memory) of your device to store data temporarily. These data are lost once you turn off your computer or laptop. You might have noticed that it takes more time to open an application for the first time after opening your pc. If you did not know why this occurred, now you know why. So, when you shut down your computer, the previous data are whipped out from the RAM( random access memory) sticks. Then when you reopen your device and open an app, the ram stick stores data again, and when you open that app again, it does not take that much time.

How does it work?

We have talked about how RAM( random access memory) sticks, store data, and how it is removed when you turn off your computer. But let us know a bit more about the exact working procedure.
As we have mentioned before, all your data is stored in your storage devices, such as your hard drive or SSD. When you open an app, your storage device loads it first and delivers it to the RAM( random access memory) sticks. It might seem like an inefficient way of operating, but there are no other ways around it. You see, the processor is called the heart of a computer. In other words, for a computer to operate, all the data has to go through the processor. The RAM( random access memory) sticks are more capable of communicating to the processor compared to the storage devices.
One thing you should keep in mind is that having more RAM( random access memory) will not help you to run your applications faster. More RAM( random access memory) means you can operate more applications at the same time. But if you want a faster system, you will need a higher speed ram and storage devices.
There are six types of RAM( random access memory)

  • DDR2 RAM
  • DDR3 RAM
  • DDR4 RAM

DDR 4 RAM( random access memory) is the faster available memory right now.

What is storage?

Storage does the same work as your memory, but unlike memory, a storage device can store data not only temporarily but also permanently. Every system needs a storage device to operate because, without one, a system will not have anything to display.

Can a system operate without storage devices?

A system can operate without a storage device, but it will not be able to display anything unless it is connected to another system that can store data. But without having any device that can not store data permanently, your system will not be able to operate. Every computer needs an operating system to function, and that operating system needs to have storage space. Not only the operating system, but every application on your device needs space to store data.
Hard drives are the most commonly used storage devices. Hard drives have a good read and write speeds and a decent storage capability, making them an ideal storage device for any build. Though most people use hard drives as their storage devices, they are not the fastest storage device. SSD or solid-state-drive is the fastest storage device right now.
There are three types of SSD(solid-state drive)

  • SATA 3 SSD
  • M.2 SSD
  • M.2 Nvme SSD.

SATA 3 was the first SSD(solid-state drive). As technology has advanced, now we have M.2 Nvme SSD, which is the fastest even among SSDs.
You might confuse storage devices as input and output devices. Well, storage devices do seem like that, but it is a bit complicated. You can say it like this, storage devices and store data and allow a system to read its data when it needs.

Difference between Memory and Storage

If you have read the previous points thoroughly, you should be able to tell the difference between these devices.
Memory or RAM( random access memory) enables a device to temporarily store data whereas, a storage device allows to store data indefinitely. When you turn off your device, the data in your RAM( random access memory) sticks go away, but the data in your storage device remains the same.
Though they are different, both these devices work in a harmony to help a system operate properly. After turning on your computer, it accesses the data on your hard drive and turns on the operating system. Then when you open an application, the system first loads it from the storage device and sends it to the memory or RAM( random access memory) sticks. The RAM( random access memory) sticks then, communicates with the processor of your computer and opens that application. Having more storage enables you to store more permanent data, and having more ram enables you to open multiple applications at the same time while using your computer.


Memory and storage are different components of a system. When you think of it, both are quite similar but not the same. The Key Difference between Memory and Storage is memory stores data temporarily, and storage can store data permanently and temporarily.
We hope this article helped you.