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Powerpoint 2B ROM and Secondary Storage

Computer Organization
ROM and Secondary Storage

RAM and ROM Compared

We studied RAM in the last Unit. It provided storage for instructions and data while the computer is running. RAM is volatile, which means the contents are erased when you power down the computer. Information in ROM is organized into bytes, just like RAM. However, ROM provides non-volatile storage, which means the contents are not erased when you shut down the computer. The computer can only read the instructions and data from ROM, while it can read from and write to RAM.

RAM Random Access Memory Fast Expensive Volatile

ROM Read Only Memory Fast Cheap Non-Volatile


Hardwired Programmed with Diodes Time consuming to produce Very cheap when mass produced

The picture at the right shows a ROM chip on a computer board. Producing a single ROM chip is an expensive and time consuming process. However, because each computer requires exactly the same chip, they can be mass produced. We refer to the low cost of mass production as economies of scale.

ROM is used in a computer to store the instructions that must run every time a computer starts up. It also contains instructions that read and write data to secondary storage. Notice the label on the chip in the picture says AMIBIOS. AMI is the company that produced the ROM. BIOS stands for Basic Input Output System.

ROM Variations


Several variations of ROM are shown above. The top three are no longer part of the IB curriculum, so feel free to skip the next three slides and go directly to Flash Memory if you are not interested.


Programmable Read only Memory Grid of Rows and columns connected by fuses Fused connection represents 1

Programmed by burning fuses

Programming is permanent


Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory Chips can be written many times Programmed like PROM Erased with ultraviolet light


Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory Programmed like PROM Can be erased with electrical signals Much slower than RAM

Flash Memory

Special type of EEPROM Provides non-volatile storage Memory is erased in blocks instead of 1 byte at a time Commonly used for storage in digital cameras and cell phones

Flash memory provides non-volatile storage that can be erased with a special signal. The picture at the right shows a flash memory chip that might look familiar to you. It is Smart Media card that is commonly used in digital cameras. This particular card provides 256 MB of storage for pictures. Other common applications for Flash Memory include USB Thumb drives, MP3 players, some iPods, and cell phones. In addition to storing your data, flash memory allow companies to provide updates for programs that run on many devices.

Secondary Storage

Flash Memory Magnetic Disks Optical Disks Magnetic Tape

In general, secondary storage refers to any storage that is not RAM. Secondary storage is non-volatile. Common forms of secondary storage are shown above.

Magnetic Disk

Ferromagnetic iron oxide Direct Access High Capacity Faster than flash or tape Slower than RAM

Magnetic Disk storage is often called the hard drive. These are often found mounted inside a computer. The picture at the right shows an external hard drive, meaning it can be attached to a computer with a cable. Currently, magnetic disk can provide more storage than flash drives. A good magnetic disk is also faster than a flash drive.

Magnetic Disk Structure

Cylinders Platters Tracks Sectors

The picture at the right shows the structure of a magnetic disk. Most hard drives actually contain several platters. Data is written on both sides of the platter. Each platter is divided into concentric circles called tracks. Each track is divided into equal sized segments called sectors.

Optical Disks

Large amount of storage on very small surface Cheap to manufacture Bits are represented by bumps on a tightly wound spiral Tracks spacing is .5 microns

Im going to assume that everyone in class has seen an optical disk. You know them as CDs and DVDs. Most personal computers contain drives that read from and write to optical disks.

Magnetic Tape

Ferromagnetic iron oxide Sequential Access Cheap High Capacity Slow

Tape drives provide large amounts of secondary storage, but are less common today than 20 years ago. One practical application for tape drives is backing up large amounts of information for organizations or businesses. A common example of a tape drive that you may have seen in your home is a VCR or audio tape. Tape drives provide sequential access. That means it is difficult to access any particular piece of information. (Have you ever tried to find a particular song on an audio tape, or a particular seen on your VCR?) With sequential access, data is stored in order, and you need to search for data by looking through the previous items. In contrast, direct access allows you to go directly to the piece of information you want. Other forms of secondary storage provide direct access.

Typical Storage Capacities

The table to the right shows typical capacities for different storage devices (2006). Each year storage capacities increase with technological improvements.

Flash Memory
Magnetic Tape Magnetic Disk Optical Disk (CD)

128 MB 2 GB
300+ GB 10 300 GB 750 MB

Optical Disk (DVD)

4.7 8.5 GB

Units of Storage
This slide should be review, since we covered these units in the last lesson. In computer science, most numbers are base 2 rather than base 10 like you learned in other disciplines.

Bit Byte Kilobyte (KB) Megabyte (MB) Gigabyte (GB) Terabyte (TB)

Binary Digit 8 Bits 1024 bytes 1024 KB 1024 MB 1024 GB

Term Kilo 1000

SI 103

Computer 1024 210

Virtual Memory
We studied RAM in the last Unit. It provided storage for instructions and data while the computer is running. RAM is expensive. On many computers, applications require more storage than is available on RAM. Virtual Memory allows primary storage (RAM) can be extended using secondary storage. The available storage in RAM is divided into equal size blocks called pages. A much larger chunk of secondary storage contains a copy of all the pages that are in RAM, plus many more that have been swapped out of RAM. Wnenever necessary, pages are moved from secondary storage to RAM (swapped in) or moved from RAM to secondary storage. A computer with 512 MB of RAM might have as much 4 GB of Virtual Memory. In the simplified diagram below, the red pages are swapped in - they are present in both primary and secondary memory. The green pages are swapped out. Notice also how the pages in primary storage are not in the same order as they are in secondary storage. Primary Storage. Page 0 Page 5 Page 3 Page 10 Page 9 Page 8 Secondary Storage. Page 0 Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10

Online References