Cache vs Buffer: Difference and Comparison

Many times, people get confused between similar terms. The reason can be anything. They may do not have a clear understanding of the terms, which leads to unnecessary confusion.

Cache and buffer are two such terms. Both come when one speaks about technology, computers, etc. To simply put, temporary storage space is known as a buffer.

On the other hand, a small and fast storing area to store the data is known as a cache.

Key Takeaways

  1. Cache stores frequently used data for quick access, while buffers temporarily store data to smooth out data transfer between devices or processes.
  2. Caching is commonly employed in CPU memory hierarchy and web browsers, while buffering is utilized in streaming, file transfers, and disk operations.
  3. Cache focuses on enhancing processing speed and reducing latency, whereas buffers aim to manage data flow and prevent overflow or data loss.

Cache vs Buffer

The difference between cache and buffer in a computer is that buffer only stores the original data copy. On the other hand, cache stores a copy of the data (original). Also, the buffer is put in the main memory. On the other hand, the cache is put in both the disk and random-access memory.

Cache vs Buffer

The cache can be simply defined as small memory storage that is located in the computer. It stores a copy of the original data. The cache is always used during the reading and writing of the disk.

The cache can be of two types. They are the browser cache and the proxy cache. Here, a user has total control over the browser cache.

Buffer can be simply defined as a short-term storing space. The items that are to be transferred from input to output are placed in this temporary space known as the buffer.

It is placed in the main memory of the RAM. In short, small storage and temporary storing place to store data when they are transferred from one place to another are called the buffer.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCacheBuffer
DetailsSmall and fast storing component to store the data.Temporary storage space for storing data in the RAM.
ImplementationPlaced in both the disk and RAM.Placed in the main memory (RAM).
Type of RAMHere, the type of ram is the static ram.Here, the type of ram is the dynamic ram.
Increase/decrease in timeCache increases the access time of the central processing unit.Buffer does not increase the access time.
ProcessUsed in reading/writing of disk.Used in input and output process.

What is Cache?

Compared to the buffer, which has a normal storing space, the cache is said to have a very highspeed area of small stores in the random-access memory (RAM).

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It can be implemented in either of the two – Disk or random-access memory (RAM). The cache can be implemented in the disk. Then, this process is called disk caching as well as memory catching (As the recent data is stored in the disk cache).

The cache is mainly used in the writing and reading of the disk process. Unlike buffer, which can be used during the editing of typos through the keyboard, the cache cannot perform this process.

As it is also said that the cache has a high-speed storing space, this is possible only because the cache is made from the static ram.

The dynamic ram is considered to be slower when compared with the static ram. The cache is considered to be a volatile memory.

The concept behind cache is to store the frequently used data (instruction etc.) to ensure a speedy process by the CPU. It fastens the accessing speed of the central processing unit.

Cache stores the flash files, images, etc. One has to clear the cache manually. To conclude, the cache is used as a means to retrieve previously used data instantly.

What is Buffer?

Buffer is something that can be defined as the temporary storage space (short-term storing space) to store the data when moving them from one place to another.

It is placed in the main memory of the random-access memory (RAM). Unlike cache, which is made up of static ram to speed the process, the buffer is made from the dynamic ram.

Unlike the dynamic ram, the static ram is quite expensive as it has a lot more speed than the dynamic ram. In short, the dynamic ram is inexpensive but very slow when compared to the static ram.

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It is used as a means to match the speed of two devices. The data stored in the temporary storage space (buffer) is moved in between these two devices.

Buffer helps in making the two end devices adapt and match with the speed. It also helps in the manipulation of data before transmitting them.

Buffer is also used in the process of disk burning. They have mainly been used in the input process as well as the output process.

Some of the input-output process examples include the computer sending the document to the printer. Here, the printer stores the document in its memory. Unlike cache, the buffer does not increase the access time.

Main Differences Between Cache and Buffer

  1. The cache can be easily defined as small storage for memory to store the data during the writing and reading process of the disk, whereas buffer is the temporary storage for keeping the data when moving from input to output.
  2. In terms of accessing speed, the buffer does not increase the access time. On the other hand, cache increases the access time in the central processing unit.
  3. Buffer is placed in the main memory of the random-access memory. On the other hand, the cache is placed in both the disk as well as RAM.
  4. The cache is made from the static type of ram, whereas the buffer is made from the dynamic type of ram.
  5. Buffer is mainly used during the input/output method, whereas the cache is used in the reading and writing of the disk.



Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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