What is Cache?

  ened 17:23 15 Mar 2005

I have been looking for a Laptop for my wife.
I understand quite a bit about Computers but am intrigued by the mention of (256k/1mb etc)Cache.
Does this actually mean anything? Or is it something flashy to make the product look better?

  ade.h 17:41 15 Mar 2005

All CPUs have to have a cache. It's a small peice of RAM that acts as a repository for all the data that passes in to and out of the processor.There are two types, both which are found in all CPUs; level 1, which is very small but very fast, and level 2, which is slightly slower but much bigger. Typically between 256 Kbytes and 2Mbytes.

More cache gives a bigger real-world performance boost than an extra few Mhz in clock speed. Pentium 4 and Pentium M CPUs tend to have 1-2Mb, while AMD Athlons have 512kb to 1Mb. That does not necessarily make Intel CPUs faster than AMD, given other varations between the two ranges. As a rule of thumb, the more cache, the better.

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