What Stores Instructions Waiting to Be Executed by the Processor?


Quick Answer

In computing, memory stores data or instructions waiting to be executed by the computer's processor. More specifically, since there are various types of memory, the computer's main memory, known as random access memory (RAM), is responsible for this function.

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Full Answer

The data or instructions stored in RAM stay there for as long as an application is open or in operation. Once the application is closed, the content is erased from memory. Because the content isn't stored long term, RAM tends to be a very high-speed type of memory.

New kinds of RAM are being developed, such as magnetoresistive RAM and resistive RAM, that will benefit users by enabling their content not to be lost even after they close their application. These storage technologies will enable computer sessions to be resumed upon re-entry.

The data or instructions are literally stored on microchip modules in a computer's system unit, so there is not much actual physical space to hold the memory, and it is possible for the RAM to fill up. If that happens, the computer processor must then enlist the hard disk to offset the load, which can slow down a computer's performance. RAM can be purchased separately to avoid this scenario and ensure there's a sufficient supply available.

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