Cache

Cache, pronounced “cash” (not “catch” or “sashay”), stores all the recently used information so that it can be accessed easily and soon afterward.

Many types of caching are used in computers to run very efficiently, while it can also increase its performance.

Common caches are covered by browser cache, disk cache, memory cache, and processor cache.

1. Browser Cache

Most web browsers cache webpage data by default.

For example, when you visit a single web page, the browser caches HTML, images, and any CSS or JavaScript files referenced through the page.

When you browse from other pages in the site that you use in the same images, CSS, or JavaScript, your browser does not have to re-download those files again. Rather, the browser loads them with cache stored in your local hard drive.

2. Memory Cache

When an application runs, it caches some data in system memory or RAM.

For example, if you are working on a video project, the video editor loads some specific video clips and audio tracks from the hard drive into RAM.

Since RAM can be accessed very quickly if we compare it to a hard drive, this will reduce the lag in importing and editing files.

3. Disk Cache

Most HDDs and SSDs have a small amount of RAM that serves according to a disk cache. A typical 1 terabyte hard drive has 32 megabytes cache, whereas a 2 TB hard drive has around 64 MB cache.

These small amounts of RAM can make a big difference in drive performance.

See also  GBPS (Gigabits per Second)

For example, when you open a folder containing many files, the references of these files are automatically saved in the disk cache. This means that the next time you open the Folder, the list of files is loaded automatically, not immediately.

4. Processor Cache

Processor caches are very small compared to disk caches. This is because a processor cache contains tiny data blocks, such as frequently used instructions, which can be accessed immediately by the CPU.

Modern processors have an L1 cache located directly next to the processor, and an L2 cache located a short distance away.

This L1 cache is the smallest (around 64 KB), while the size of the L2 cache is about 2 MB. Some high-end processors also have an L3 cache, larger than the L2 cache.

When a processor accesses data from a higher level cache, it has to move the data from the higher level to the lower level cache to be accessed faster next time.

Most of the caching are done in the background itself, so you do not know whether it is happening or not. At the same time, only one of these is a cache that you can control, which is browser cache.

If you want, you can open your browser preferences to see its cache settings, and you can alter its browser cache size, or you can also open the cache when needed.

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