Computer Questions how Caching Works | DigitalRise

Digital Rise Homepage

Computer Questions how Caching Works

Many people do not understand the basics of how computer caching works. This is actually a fairly basic computer question about the way computers operate AND store memory.  Specifics can be quite complex but the basic theory is fairly simple in understanding and being able to optimize computer cache to make a computer run much faster.

♦  What is computer cache?

Computer cache is the ability of a computer to store hardware, software and memory information and execution series inside of L1 and L2 (and sometimes L3) forms of cache.

♦  How Caching works

The basic idea of how caching works is that it takes a small nimble form of memory (cache) and uses it to update and preload a larger slower form of computer memory.  This can greatly decrease load times and greatly increase computer speeds, particularly for operations that are common and repetitive.

Cache memory will always be a special and separate form of memory that is integrated into the computers central processing unit (CPU) or occasionally used as a separated and segmented section of main computer memory. Either way it allows the CPU to operate at a much faster rate than it would connect into larger volume of memory that is present in normal memory operations.

Generally it works like this: your computer boots up and begins to load all the programs. It may finish with one program but may still need parts of that program to run other programs. Since it is ready to move on to other things, it does not need to keep the whole program in memory. What it will do is cache the part of the memory that will be needed for quicker future reference and move on to the next load. This way when it comes back and needs that memory again, it does not need to reload the whole program, just execute what is in the cache. 

These miniscule time differences can make a significantly larger time saved when it comes to measuring things in “computer time”.   Besides computer loading cache, it is also used for loading of webpages.  Many parts of webpages will be remembered within computer cache so that when the website is re-visited, there is not a need to download the whole page.  Only parts of the page will need to be downloaded since the rest of the page will be loaded from the computer cache.

There is much more to computer cache, it can get a lot more technical, but that is the basic idea behind how computer cache works and why it makes a computer faster and decreases webpage load time.