Updated April 7, 2023
Introduction to Cache Memory Levels
Cache memory is defined as a memory that looks like a chip-based device within the computer is used for maintaining the speed between CPU and main memory as processor speed is faster and main memory speed is slower therefore to balance the speed between this the cache memory is used. Therefore, in general, the cache memory is defined as a high-speed memory which is volatile memory for speeding up and synchronizing with high-speed processor and main memory that acts as temporary storage in computers processor and this temporary storage is known as a cache memory which is costlier than main memory for accessing the data in a computer microprocessor and hence the larger the capacity of cache memory faster the data transfer and more data can be stored with larger capacity.
Top 5 Levels of Cache Memory
Top Levels of Cache Memory are given below:
1. Cache Memory Levels
Cache memory is an expensive yet fast memory that is a chip-based component in a computer that is used for faster data transfer and also to store huge data. This cache memory is divided into levels which are used for describing how close and fast access the cache memory is to main or CPU memory. This cache memory is mainly divided into 3 levels as Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 cache memory but sometimes it is also said that there is 4 levels cache. In the below section let us see each level of cache memory in detail.
2. Level 1 Cache
Level 1 cache is also known as registers which are a type of memory that is embedded in the processor chip as CPU chip and is a primary memory that is small but faster memory. This level 1 cache is a memory that can store data by accepting this data from the CPU where this data is immediately stored in the CPU. The Data which the Level 1 cache contains is the data that is very much essential for the CPU to complete certain tasks. This L1 cache is further divided into parts within this such as information cache which provides the details regarding what operations should be performed by CPU and another part of level1 cache is data cache where this cache holds the data regarding the details of the data on which these operations should be performed.
Usually, we cannot determine or get any standard L1 cache size was to determine this level 1 cache memory size we need to check the CPU specs which will help us to choose the size of level 1 cache, therefore the size of level 1 cache depends on the CPU. Some of the commonly used level 1 cache is accumulator, address register, program counter, etc. There are many different level 1 cache with 1 MB size such as intel i9 which is expensive but there are other server chipsets that are economically affordable level 1 cache with size 1 – 2 MB size such as Intel’s Xeon range.
3. Level 2 Cache
Level 2 caches are known as a cache memory which is considered as slower memory than level 1 cache as data stored in this memory is temporarily stored but the storage capacity for the level2 cache is larger when compared to level 1 cache which can be either embedded on the CPU or separated chip where this level 2 cache is a secondary type of cache memory and is located on a computer microprocessor. Level 2 cache size also depends on CPU which are hence provided with different sizes as level 1 cache where the level 2 cache has some typical size range such as 256KB to 8MB sizes where this size is considered smaller at the present generation further or in developing stage this level 2 cache size may exceed the 8MB size also. Though when comparing the speed between level 1 and level 2 cache, level 2 cache is much slower than level 1 but still faster than the system RAM but level 2 cache has a bigger capacity to store than level 1 cache.
4. Level 3 Cache
Level 3 cache which is also considered as main memory which is a very specialized type of memory than level 1 cache and level 2 cache as it is developed to perform better than these two memories. This level 3 cache is located on the motherboard in the earlier days but now it is said that it is in the CPU. This level 3 cache is also larger than both level 1 and level 2 cache but it is one of the slowest among these 3 level caches. In core processors, where each core may have separate levels 1 and level 2 cache but all core have a common level 3 cache and its speed is double that of the RAM. This level memory is actually on which computer works currently but if the power is off data no longer remains in this memory.
5. Level 4 cache
Level 4 cache is also considered as secondary memory which is external memory but is not faster than the level 3 cache or main memory but in this type of cache, the data remains permanently in the memory even after the power is off unlike the level 3 cache. This type of cache is generally in the form of DRAM instead of SRAM on the separate chip but for all levels of cache, eDRAM is used.
In this article, we conclude that cache memory is nowadays mostly required to maintain speed balance between CPU and main memory and it is one of the memory types of super-fast RAM. It has 3 different cache levels which each of which play a different role and are considers as registers, secondary cache, and main memory but there is also another level 4 cache which is considered as secondary memory. Cache memory is always evolving as memory is nowadays getting cheaper, faster, and denser. Therefore, the cache memory concept is always been improving day by day.
This is a guide to Cache Memory Levels. Here we also discuss the introduction and top levels of cache memory along with a detailed explanation. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –