Cache memory is one of the important factor which determines the speed with which your computer will execute various tasks. Higher the cache memory of your computer more faster it will process data and execute programs. Cache memory is blazing fast Random Access Memory (RAM) that a computer’s microprocessor can have access to much faster than a regular RAM. The cache memory could be built onto same chip on which CPU resides or it could be on a separate chip located next to it.
CPU uses cache memory to store the instruction files which are repeatedly required to execute programs and hence improving processing speeds. So in other words CPU does not have to do more time consuming data reading from RAM or Hard Disk. A cache memory found on CPU is faster and runs at the same speed as CPU itself. While separate cache generally found on separate chip (Static RAM) is somewhat slower but still it is twice as much fast as regular RAM.
While using cache memory CPU does not have to use motherboard’s system bus for data transfer. As and when CPU uses motherboard’s system bus for data transfer its speeds slows down to the motherboard’s capability. Cache built onto the CPU chip itself is referred to as Level 1 (L1) cache. A cache which sits on a separate chip next to CPU is called Level 2 (L2) cache.
You must have noticed it time and again that once the system is up and running for some time programs open more quickly and smoothly. This is because the repetitive instructions needed to operate these programs have now moved to cache memory making processing faster. It will not be an exaggeration if we say that a slower CPU with more cache memory can trounce a faster CPU low on cache memory, all else being equal.
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Cache is costlier as compared to RAM but it is will be money well spent as CPU and motherboard with cache will maximize your computer’s performance. Another concept by the name Disk Caching helps in accessing data faster from secondary memory like hard disk. In this case files and data frequently accessed from hard disk are stored on a separate segment of RAM. This avoids the the repetitive and slower task of time and again accessing same data from hard disk. Disk Caching works as RAM is faster as compared to platter technology found on traditional hard disk drives. The conditions will however change once hybrid hard disks become mainstream in coming days.