NVRAM stands for Non-Volatile Random Access Memory. It is a kind of Random Access Memory (RAM) that has the capacity to retain information or data even if the power source is switched off.

NVRAM is different from the most common forms of Random Access Memory used nowadays, such as the DRAM (Dynamic RAM) and SRAM (Static RAM). These two types of RAM require continuous power supply to avoid any information lost.

Non-Volatile Random Access Memory is a small 24 pin Dual Inline Package (DIP) microcircuit. It can attain the power needed from the CMOS battery installed in the motherboard to make it operational.

It keeps track of different system parameters such as Ethernet Media Access Control (MAC) address, date of manufacture, HOST ID, serial number, and many more.

Types of NVRAM

The following are the types of Non-Volatile Random Access Memory and their descriptions:

Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EPROM)

Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory or EPROM is a type of non-volatile computer memory integrated circuit. It has the capacity to retain data when the power supply is switched off.

It uses floating-gate transistors individually programmed by an electronic device. It provides higher voltages compared to other commonly used electronic circuits.

Once it is programmed, it can only be erased by exposing it to strong ultraviolet light with a wavelength of 235 nm for optimal erasure time.

Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM)

Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM or E2PROM) is a type of non-volatile computer memory device used in computers and other electronic devices.

It is used to store small amounts of data that must be saved when the power supply is turned off.

EEPROM is developed from earlier EPROM technology. However, it uses a thin gate oxide layer so the microchip can remove its own bits without using any UV source.

Flash Memory

Flash memory is a non-volatile computer memory, which means it can be electrically reprogrammed and erased. It is a specific type of Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM or E2PROM).

The cost of a flash memory is less expensive compared to other byte-programmable EEPROM. Hence, it has become the leading technology when storing non-volatile, solid-state information.

It is often used when large amounts of static data are to be stored, offering the performance of the finest SRAM devices combined with the non-volatility of a Flash Memory. It is more economical compared to traditional EEPROM devices.

Flash memory is primarily used in portable music players, mobile phones, personal digital assistants, digital cameras, laptop computers, scientific calculators, memory cards, game consoles, and USB flash drives.

Benefits of NVRAM

Here are some of the benefits of using Non-Volatile RAM:

  • It provides superior performance compared to other Non-Volatile Memory products such as optical disc drives, punch cards, paper tape, magnetic tape, and floppy disk drives;
  • NVRAM serves applications that entail quick read/write operations with non-volatile memories such as anti-lock breaking systems and parallel processing controllers for Local Area Networks (LANs);
  • Non-Volatile RAM integrated circuits can function like static RAM; and
  • NVRAM integrated circuits do not require a great deal of power. Its backup can be guaranteed for up to ten years.