What is Cache Memory? Advantages and Disadvantages of Cache Memory

Hello friends, in today’s article we are going to talking about Cache Memory.

Today we will learn in detail about, what is cache memory? what are the types of cache memory? And how cache memory is helpful in increasing the efficiency of our computer CPU.

So without wasting time let’s first know about what is cache memory?

Cache Memory
What is Cache Memory

What is Cache Memory

Cache memory is a high speed semiconductor computer memory that is used to increase the speed and performance of the CPU. Cache memory is much more expensive than primary and secondary memory. It acts as a buffer between the CPU and the primary memory.

It is used to hold the data and the parts of the program which are used most frequently by the CPU.

By the operating system, the data and program parts required for CPU processing are transferred from disk to primary memory and then from primary memory to cache memory, from where the CPU can easily access them.

Whenever the CPU needs any data, the CPU first finds that data in the cache memory.

If the CPU gets that data in the cache memory, then the CPU continues its process with that data and if the data is not found, then the CPU looks for that data in the RAM or primary memory, where most of the time the data found. |

Cache memory reduces the data access time from the main memory of the CPU. Due to which the performance of the CPU increases significantly.

It is a small-sized chip-based computer memory that is much faster than main memory, and sometimes, it is also called CPU memory, as it is very close to the CPU chip.

Cache memory is a temporary memory which is very fast and expensive.

Types of Cache Memory

Traditionally, cache memory is divided into “Levels”.

  • Level 1 Cache
  • Level 2 Cache
  • Level 3 Cache

#1. Level 1 Cache

This is the first level of cache memory which is known as L1 cache or Level 1 cache. Level 1 cache memory is smaller in size and has a higher speed. This memory is present inside the CPU which stores a very small amount of data.

If the CPU is four-core, then each CPU core has its own Level 1 cache memory. Its speed is same as CPU. Level 1 cache memory size varies from 2KB to 64 KB.

We can divide Level 1 cache memory into two parts -:

  • instruction cache
  • data cache

Instruction Cache – It serves to store the instructions required for CPU processing.

Data Cache – It serves to store the data used in CPU processing.

When the CPU needs any data, then the CPU first checks it in the Level 1 cache. If that data is found by the CPU in the L1 Cache, then the CPU does not check the rest of the level and continues processing with that data.

#2. Level 2 Cache

This is the second level of cache memory known as L2 cache or Level 2 cache. Level 2 cache memory is slightly larger in size than L1 cache memory and its speed is also slightly less than L1 cache memory.

Level 2 cache memory can exist anywhere inside and outside the CPU. If it is outside the CPU, it is connected to the CPU via a high-speed bus.

If the CPU is four-core, then each CPU core may have its own separate Level 2 cache memory or may all use the same Level 2 cache memory.

It stores a little more data than the L1 cache memory. The size of Level 2 cache memory varies from 256 KB to 512 KB.

#3. Level 3 Cache

This is the third level of cache memory which is known as L3 cache or Level 3 cache memory. Level 3 cache memory is not available in all processors. This may be on some high-end processors.

It is slightly larger in size than L1 cache and Level 2 cache, due to which its speed is also slightly less than L1 cache and Level 2 cache memory.

Level 3 cache memory is used to increase the performance of L1 cache and Level 2 cache. Level 3 cache memory exists outside the CPU.

If the CPU is four-core then all CPU cores use the same level 3 cache memory. It stores a slightly higher amount of data than L1 cache and Level 2 cache memory. Level 3 cache memory size ranges from 1 MB to 8 MB.

How does Cache memory work?

When the CPU needs any data at the time of processing, then the CPU first finds that data in the level 1 cache memory. If the CPU does not find that data in level 1 cache memory, then the CPU looks for that data in the L2 cache memory and if the required data is not found in it, then the CPU finds that data in the L3 cache memory.

If the CPU gets that data in any one cache memory then it is called cache hit and if the data is not found in any cache memory then it is called cache miss.

If the CPU does not find data in any cache, then the CPU searches it in the primary memory and if that data is not found there, then the CPU searches for that data in the secondary memory. From where the CPU gets the required data.

When the computer is started for the first time, or an application is opened for the first time, the data in the cache memory or RAM is not available. In this case, the CPU gets the data directly from the hard disk drive.

Once a program is open, later whenever you start your computer or open an application, the CPU can get that data from cache memory or RAM.

Advantages of Cache Memory

Some of the advantages of cache memory are as follows:

  • Cache memory is much faster than primary memory and secondary memory.
  • It stores all the data and instructions frequently used by the CPU, thereby increasing the performance of the CPU.
  • The data access time of cache memory is less than primary memory.

Disadvantages of Cache Memory

Some of the disadvantages of cache memory are as follows:

  • It is much more expensive than the rest of the memory (eg – Primary memory and secondary memory).
  • Its storage capacity is quite handy.
  • It stores the data temporarily.
  • when the computer is turned off, the data stored in it is destroyed.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the name of the fastest computer memory?

Cache memory is the fastest memory of the computer. It is a hardware that is located near the CPU in the computer.

What is the main function of cache memory in computer?

Cache memory is a high speed semiconductor computer memory that is used to increase the speed and performance of the CPU. It is used to hold the data and the parts of the program which are used most frequently by the CPU.

Is cache memory the fastest memory on a computer?

Yes, cache memory is the fastest memory of the computer. Cache memory reduces the data access time from the main memory of the CPU. Due to which the performance of the CPU increases significantly.

Why is the cache memory called the fastest memory of the computer?

Cache memory is called the fastest memory of the computer because it is very fast. The size of the cache memory is much less than the rest of the memory, due to which the time is taken to search the data is also less. The CPU easily retrieves the required data from the cache memory.

Conclusion

Friends, I hope that after reading this article you will know very well about, what is your cache memory? And what are the types of cache memory?

If you want a complete tutorial on Computer Fundamentals, then see this article Computer Fundamentals Tutorial. Here you will get all the topics of Computer Fundamentals step by step.

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