Read-Only Memory (ROM)

Read-Only Memory (ROM) is storage technology that permanently stores data in a chip built into computers and other electronic devices. ROM includes the most basic programming needed to start a computer, often referred to as Basic Input/Output System (BIOS).  Your BIOS holds the program and software instructions to boot up your computer.

Because ROM is read-only, it is not easily changed.  To update ROM you need to perform a “Flash” of the ROM which means it is critical that power not be interrupted or else the computer in which the ROM sits may no longer function at all.  Once Flashed, ROM is permanent and non-volatile, meaning it also holds its memory even when the power source is removed. By contrast, random access memory (RAM) is volatile; losing data when a power source is removed. 

Source: Techopedia, Classmate

Related Terms: Random Access Memory (RAM), RAM Disk

What are some Advantages and Disadvantages of ROM?

Memory is arguably the most important part of a computer considering the computer cannot perform basic tasks without it. ROM and RAM are both necessary in your machine.  No machine has just one memory storage tool. Although it’s not necessary to choose which tool you use for your devices, it’s a good idea to understand how your data is stored in them. Take a look below at some of the pros and cons of this memory tool:
  • It’s non-volatile and cheaper than RAM
  • They are static, meaning they do not need refreshing every time it’s used
  • Circuits are simple making ROM more reliable than RAM
  • Data can be stored permanently
  • It helps to start the computer and loads the operating system (OS)
  • ROM is typically read-only so changes involve a convoluted process of “Flashing” the ROM chip with a new instruction set.

To learn more about the differences between ROM and RAM, watch this short video:

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