How Caching Works

Caching greatly increases the speed at which your computer pulls bits and bytes from memory. See more ­computer memory pictures.
2008 HowStuffWorks


­If you have been shopping for a computer, then you have heard the word "cache." Modern computer­s have both L1 and L2 caches, and many now also have L3 cache. You may also have gotten advice on the topic from well-meaning friends, perhaps something like "Don't buy that Celeron chip, it doesn't have any cache in it!" ­

It turns out that caching is an important computer-science process that appears on every computer in a variety of forms. There are memory caches, hardware and software disk caches, page caches and more. Virtual memory is even a form of caching. In this article, we will explore caching so you can understand why it is so important.