Memory - The Cache

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Cache Memory

-The cache memory is very important to the PC system and its speed. Cache sits on newer processor as L1 (level 1) memory and as L2 memory. This allows kind of a buffer for the CPU. The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is faster than the rest of the system in most cases and needs a place to store information that can be accessed fast, this is where L1 and L2 come in. The cache minimizes the number of outgoing transactions from the CPU, it sends and receives information from the system memory and passes it to the CPU so the CPU can do more of its work internally thus speeding overall pc performance.

-L1 Cache, you might have hear of L2 cache when looking at specs of a computer. The L1 cache is a little more hush hush. This cache site on the CPU an allows a buffer for the rest of the system to keep up with it. The same goes with L2 cache but act more for information heading out of the CPU rather than in it.


-The cache itself is made up of extremely fast silicon memory, and is called SRAM (Static RAM). This is a super fast RAM and isn't cheap, the L1 cache has a much lower latency than L2 cache that is why most L1 cache's have 32-64kb as the cost is much higher, and L2 have 512kb to 2MB. Something to keep in mind is that a high cache size doesn't mean better. 

-The L2 chips, themselves that are split up into two sections. These sections are main data, tag data cache chips. The tag RAM chip determines where the needed data is on the main data chip.

Types Of Cache

-There are three types of cache out there.

-Asynchronous SRAM, this RAM has speeds of 12, 15, 20 nanoseconds. The RAM is called asynchronous because the processor has provide a address for each cache access then in turn has to wait. This is a older type cache and is found on 386 and 486 machines.

-Synchronous Burst SRAM, This is like the name implies and allows for the RAM to work in step with the system clock. It also free ups the problems with the CPU. In other words less waiting.

-Pipeline Burst SRAM, this type is much like the Synchronous and is far cheaper. Found on current Pentium systems.

Where Is It?

The L1 and L2 cache are now found on the CPU. Old systems used to have the L2 cache on the actual motherboard.

Installing Cache and Memory

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