We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is Cache Memory?

By R. Kayne
Updated: May 16, 2024

Cache (pronounced cash) memory is extremely fast memory that is built into a computer’s central processing unit (CPU), or located next to it on a separate chip. The CPU uses cache memory to store instructions that are repeatedly required to run programs, improving overall system speed. The advantage of cache memory is that the CPU does not have to use the motherboard’s system bus for data transfer. Whenever data must be passed through the system bus, the data transfer speed slows to the motherboard’s capability. The CPU can process data much faster by avoiding the bottleneck created by the system bus.

As it happens, once most programs are open and running, they use very few resources. When these resources are kept in cache, programs can operate more quickly and efficiently. All else being equal, cache is so effective in system performance that a computer running a fast CPU with little cache can have lower benchmarks than a system running a somewhat slower CPU with more cache. Cache built into the CPU itself is referred to as Level 1 (L1) cache. Cache that resides on a separate chip next to the CPU is called Level 2 (L2) cache. Some CPUs have both L1 and L2 cache built-in and designate the separate cache chip as Level 3 (L3) cache.

Cache that is built into the CPU is faster than separate cache, running at the speed of the microprocessor itself. However, separate cache is still roughly twice as fast as Random Access Memory (RAM). Cache is more expensive than RAM, but it is well worth getting a CPU and motherboard with built-in cache in order to maximize system performance.

Disk caching applies the same principle to the hard disk that memory caching applies to the CPU. Frequently accessed hard disk data is stored in a separate segment of RAM in order to avoid having to retrieve it from the hard disk over and over. In this case, RAM is faster than the platter technology used in conventional hard disks. This situation will change, however, as hybrid hard disks become ubiquitous. These disks have built-in flash memory caches. Eventually, hard drives will be 100% flash drives, eliminating the need for RAM disk caching, as flash memory is faster than RAM.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon270921 — On May 24, 2012

Where is cache memory located with respect to a Central Processing Unit and main memory?

By anon212393 — On Sep 07, 2011

That was a precise and excellent explanation of cache.

- vinod

By anon165723 — On Apr 05, 2011

very helpful and precise. hope you will explain all parts of the computer like this one.

By anon165441 — On Apr 05, 2011

this cache memory is built right into the processor.

By anon163253 — On Mar 27, 2011

then what is the difference between SRAM and DRAM?

By Adaickalavan Palamneeyappan — On Feb 25, 2011

Clear information. Good!

By anon149373 — On Feb 04, 2011

this is very nice and clear information. thanks for you who has written this.

By anon132765 — On Dec 08, 2010

it is primary or secondary?

By anon131839 — On Dec 04, 2010

which one these is on chip memory?

a.main memory


By anon130079 — On Nov 26, 2010

what is the main role of cache memory and where is it?

By anon128820 — On Nov 21, 2010

I love wise geek. Thanks for the info on cache. I wasn't even pronouncing it right.

By anon126520 — On Nov 13, 2010

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

By anon111795 — On Sep 18, 2010

can you help me with some details about cache? and some information?

By anon107959 — On Sep 01, 2010

thanks, just what i needed - short, clean and simple explanation.

By anon106955 — On Aug 27, 2010

Excellent and precise piece of information. Thanks.


By anon105772 — On Aug 22, 2010

I can say only thanks. i got what i needed.

By anon105530 — On Aug 21, 2010

I just want to ask: what are the various types of i/o buses and what are their functions?

By anon96783 — On Jul 16, 2010

I want to know where's the cache memory is located? Is it in RAM?

By anon90222 — On Jun 15, 2010

Very nice concept. Simple and short. Thanks.

By anon89129 — On Jun 08, 2010

should a cache ever be cleared?

By anon87760 — On Jun 01, 2010

Really crisp and clear definition. Was searching Web and was getting idea which was not penetrating my dumb head. It is really awesome. Thanks for it. Satya

By anon86901 — On May 27, 2010

flash memory is not faster than RAM. Get your facts straight.

By anon79018 — On Apr 21, 2010

very helpful and precise. hope you will explain all parts of the computer like this one. thanks

By anon78804 — On Apr 20, 2010

What's the general size allocated for cache memory?

By anon72439 — On Mar 23, 2010

it's simply awesome.

By anon70727 — On Mar 16, 2010

Super, dude. Very short and clear.

By anon70689 — On Mar 15, 2010

short and sweet. Thanks.

By anon68923 — On Mar 05, 2010

what is the performance of the system when it has more cache?

By anon68521 — On Mar 02, 2010

Thanks for the info, short but to the point and clear.

By anon65757 — On Feb 15, 2010

what is your prediction when hdd will be 100 percent flash? What are your predictions on when common cpu's will reach 1gb/10gb/100gb of L1?

By anon58594 — On Jan 03, 2010

Well informed. good job Pro

By anon57899 — On Dec 28, 2009

Thanks a lot. This post is extremely superb. The explanation is really really cool.

By anon55307 — On Dec 06, 2009

Please help me. MY L2 cache's value is 0 when it is read by my TuneUp Utilities... but by reading it with CPU-Z it has its values.

By anon54404 — On Nov 30, 2009

how can you rank speed from primary memory and secondary memory?

By anon54390 — On Nov 30, 2009

thank you for giving the good answer,

but i just wanted to how many levels are there in a cache.

By anon52025 — On Nov 10, 2009

Simply superb!

By anon47752 — On Oct 07, 2009

Thank you, this article was very helpful. I'm doing A Level IT, and I found it extremely useful!

By anon43965 — On Sep 03, 2009

"if i clean my cache will this fix my youtube? the sound works but the picture freezes." ROFL

By anon43232 — On Aug 26, 2009

Marvelous article. Just continue to write this type of articles. Thanks.

By anon43120 — On Aug 25, 2009

if i clean my cache will this fix my youtube? the sound works but the picture freezes.

By anon42487 — On Aug 21, 2009

Great effort. Any computer user could understand it. hats off.

By anon39147 — On Jul 30, 2009

The way of explanation is excellent.

By anon37529 — On Jul 20, 2009

does intel 8086 has a cache memory???? answer me please?? thanks.

By anon37366 — On Jul 19, 2009

It was excellent article. i want to ask about the difference between the role of Ram and cache in mother board

By lsujatha — On Jul 18, 2009

cache memory is made of?

From which processor cache started? What is the speed and width?

By anon35242 — On Jul 03, 2009

Fantastic answer. It explains it so well!

By anon31732 — On May 11, 2009

It would be better to have 2MB cache and 1GB RAM as Cache is generally a lot faster (2-3 times) than RAM.

By anon31727 — On May 11, 2009

Basic Factors to consider before buying a new computer are:

1. What will it be used for? This will determine whether or not you need a powerful processor, extra RAM or overall performance capabilities.

2. Reliability. Will all the components work correctly and efficiently?

3. Will it require space for future improvements? If in the future you wish to upgrade your pc, you will need to have extra space such as extra PCI slots and drive bays.

4. Spacial Awareness. How much room have you got to put your PC? Do you need a small, more compact PC or can you manage with a big pc that takes up a lot of space?

By anon21965 — On Nov 25, 2008

What are the basic factors that I should consider before I buy a new computer?

By anon17823 — On Sep 08, 2008

does cache memory prevent the processor from being idle? if yes then how?

By glassbarrel — On Feb 10, 2008

I have a similar question....is it better to go with 1mb L2 cache and 1gb ram or 2mb cache and 1gb ram?

By anon8020 — On Feb 06, 2008

hi i just wanted to ask if there is a big difference in performance between a 1mb & 2mb cache and any way in which i would feel the difference when im using the laptop? thnx a lot

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.