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A new PC should have at least 256 megabytes, and more if possible. Top-end PCs have several gigabytes of main memory.

Characteristics of Computer Memory

Main memory is as vital as the processor chip to a computer system. Fast computer systems have both a fast processor and a large, fast memory. Here is a list of some characteristics of computer memory. Some characteristics are true for both kinds of memory; others are true for just one.

CharacteristicTrue for
Main Memory
True for
Secondary Memory
Very closely connected to the
Holds programs and data that the
processor is actively working with.
Used for long term storage.
The processor interacts with it
millions of times per second.
The contents is easily changed.
Relatively low capacity.
Relatively huge capacity.
Fast access.
Slow access.
Connected to main memory.
Holds programs and data.
Usually its contents are organized
into files.



What do you remember about computer memory? In the table, decide what is true for main memory and for secondary memory. (Click on the buttons to see if you are correct.)