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What is the cache?

What is the cache?

In computing, it is known as cache memory or fast access memory to one of the resources that a CPU (Central Processing Unit, that is, Central Processing Unit) has to temporarily store recently processed data in a special buffer, it is that is, in an auxiliary memory. What is the cache.

The cache memory operates in a similar way to the Main Memory of the CPU, but with greater speed despite being much smaller. Its efficiency provides the microprocessor with extra time to access the most frequently used data, without having to trace it back to its place of origin every time it is needed.

Thus, this alternate memory is located between the CPU and the RAM (Random Access Memory, that is, Random Access Memory), and provides an additional boost in time and resource savings to the system.

There are several types of , such as the following:

  • Disk cache. It is a portion of RAM memory associated with a particular disk, where recently accessed data is stored to speed up loading.
  • Track cache. Similar to RAM, this type of robust  used by supercomputers is powerful, but expensive.
  • Web cache. It takes care of storing the information of recently visited web content, to hurry up their ensuant loading and save information measure. This sort of  successively will work for one user (private), many users at an equivalent time (shared) or along for the whole network managed by a server (gateway).

How does the cache work?

The operation of this alternate memory is simple: when we access any data in our computerized system, a copy of the most relevant data is immediately created in the cache, so that subsequent accesses to said information have it at hand and should not trace it back to its place of origin.

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Thus, accessing the copy and not the original saves processing time and therefore speed, since the microprocessor does not have to go to the main memory all the time. It is, let’s put it like this, a constantly updated working copy of the most frequently used data.

Clearing the cache doesn’t erase your files

Like all memories, the cache can become full or have such disorganized data that the process of verifying if any requested data is available in cache is delayed – a procedure that all microprocessors routinely perform. This can slow down the machine, producing an effect totally opposite to the one intended. Or, it can cause cache read or copy errors.

Whatever the case, you can clear the cache manually, asking the system to free up the alternate space and refill it as needed. This operation does not alter at all the content of our information on the hard drive, much less in our email or social media accounts. It is a working copy, and deleting it leaves us facing the original, identical but in another location.

Advantages of clearing the cache

Releasing the cache serves two fundamental purposes, such as:

  • Delete old or unnecessary data (since we do not always use the same data in the system), such as old files or processes that we will not need again but that are stored there “just in case” to speed up their execution.
  • Accelerate and streamline the system by giving you new free space to copy data in current use, shortening processing times.
  • This maintenance work must be done with a certain periodicity, which, however, should not be exaggerated, as we would be preventing the cache from fulfilling its mission.
  • If we continually erase it, the data stored there will have to be found and copied back from its original location, resulting in increased processing time for each program.