Sunday, March 30, 2008

Primary storage

Primary storage, presently known as memory, is the only one directly reachable to the CPU. The CPU continuously reads commands stored there and executes them. Any data actively operate on is also stored there in uniform manner.

Historically, early computers used delay lines, Williams’s tubes, or revolving magnetic drums as primary storage. By 1954, those unreliable methods were frequently replaced by magnetic core memory, which was still rather cumbersome. Undoubtedly, a revolution was started with the invention of a transistor that soon enables then-unbelievable neatness of electronic memory via solid-state silicon chip technology.

This led to a modern random access memory (RAM). It is small-sized, light, but quite expensive at the same time. (The particular types of RAM used for primary storage are also volatile, i.e. loses the information when not powered).

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