Static RAM and Dynamic RAM

Updated on 2017/11/17 18:43


Static RAM and Dynamic RAM

Static RAM and Dynamic RAM

Static RAM

Static random-access memory (static RAM or SRAM) is a type of semiconductor memory that uses bistable latching circuitry (flip-flop) to store each bit. SRAM exhibits data remanence, but it is still volatile in the conventional sense that data is eventually lost when the memory is not powered.

The term static differentiates SRAM from DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) which must be periodically refreshed. SRAM is faster and more expensive than DRAM; it is typically used for CPU cache while DRAM is used for a computer's main memory.


A typical SRAM cell is made up of six MOSFETs. Each bit in an SRAM is stored on four transistors (M1, M2, M3, M4) that form two cross-coupled inverters. This storage cell has two stable states which are used to denote 0 and 1. Two additional access transistors serve to control the access to a storage cell during read and write operations. In addition to such six-transistor (6T) SRAM, other kinds of SRAM chips use 4, 8, 10 (4T, 8T, 10T SRAM), or more transistors per bit. Four-transistor SRAM is quite common in stand-alone SRAM devices (as opposed to SRAM used for CPU caches), implemented in special processes with an extra layer of polysilicon, allowing for very high-resistance pull-up resistors. The principal drawback of using 4T SRAM is increased static power due to the constant current flow through one of the pull-down transistors.


Dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) is a type of random-access memory that stores each bit of data in a separate capacitor within an integrated circuit. The capacitor can either be charged or discharged; these two states are taken to represent the two values of a bit, conventionally called 0 and 1. Since even "nonconducting" transistors always leak a small amount, the capacitors will slowly discharge, and the information eventually fades unless the capacitor charge is refreshed periodically. Because of this refresh requirement, it is a dynamic memory as opposed to static random-access memory (SRAM) and other static types of memory. Unlike flash memory, DRAM is volatile memory (vs. non-volatile memory), since it loses its data quickly when power is removed. However, DRAM does exhibit limited data remanence.

DRAM is widely used in digital electronics where low-cost and high-capacity memory is required. One of the largest applications for DRAM is the main memory (colloquially called the "RAM") in modern computers; and as the main memories of components used in these computers such as graphics cards (where the "main memory" is called the graphics memory). In contrast, SRAM, which is faster and more expensive than DRAM, is typically used where speed is of greater concern than cost, such as the cache memories in processors.

The advantage of DRAM is its structural simplicity: only one transistor and a capacitor are required per bit, compared to four or six transistors in SRAM. This allows DRAM to reach very high densities. The transistors and capacitors used are extremely small; billions can fit on a single memory chip. Due to the dynamic nature of its memory cells, DRAM consumes relatively large amounts of power, with different ways for managing the power consumption.



  • Notes by Prof. D.D. Khairnar, JSPM's BSCOER, Wagholi, Pune
  • WikiNote Foundation
Created by Sujit Wagh on 2017/11/17 18:41
Translated into en by Sujit Wagh on 2017/11/17 18:43