Difference Between Cache and RAM (With Table)

Our desktops, laptops, or any other electronic devices work due to their storage and speed. Due to these aspects, cache and RAM become an integral part of any electronic device. Cache and RAM are volatile memory that is used to decrease the average time needed to access data from the main memory.

Cache vs RAM

The difference between Cache and Ram is that cache is faster, smaller and, more expensive as compared to RAM. The cache is a faster virtual memory component that regularly and frequently stores data and programs from the CPU whilst on the other hand, RAM is a virtual computing device that stores the current data and programs by the CPU. The cache holds documents and files of data and programs commonly required and used by the CPU while RAM serves as primary memory and stores data and programs usable currently.

CPU checks the cache for the data it needs amongst its three types namely Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 caches. Level 1 is small and situated inside the CPU whereas Level 2 and Level 3 are outside the CPU and larger as compared to Level 1.

RAM is the main, essential or primary memory that helps in faster and more rapid execution of tasks assigned since CPU requires a longer duration time to access and acquire data from the hard disk. Thus, this requires a continuous and non stop flow of power to maintain the data. There are two types of RAM namely SRAM and DRAM.

Comparison Table Between Cache and RAM

Parameters of ComparisonCache RAM
DefinitionA component which stores frequently used dataA component which stores currently used data
SpeedFasterNot as fast
CostExpensiveNot as expensive
Capacity Low capacityHigh capacity
Usageholds frequently used data by CPUholds programs and data currently executed by CPU
ClassificationLevel 1, Level 2 and Level 3SRAM and DRAM

What is Cache?

In computing, there is a component that stores data for future reference. That hardware or software is called a cache that has been earlier stored as a copy elsewhere. The cache is small, cost-effective and, efficient. When we clear this cache, we remove the corrupted files and unnecessary data to improve our PC’s performance. There are three types of caches namely hardware caches, in-network caches, and software caches.

Hardware caches are a collection or a record of memory for the temporary virtual storage of data that may be or may not be used again and again. They are used by CPU and hard disk. An in-network cache is an approach to evolve the internet infrastructure away from a host-centric paradigm and end-to-end principle. They consist of Information-centric networking, policies, TLRU, LFRU, etc. Software cache is managed by hardware and a variety of software. They include disk cache, web cache, memorization, and other caches.

Caches are very advantageous to use. They make everything run faster as well as save data. Futuristically, they are used to save data in the long term. Like everything has its pros and cons, even caches have cons like they take up a lot of storage space. They also corrupt the data and cause the app to behave miserably and prevent these apps from loading the latest version of a webpage.

What is RAM?

RAM was invented in 1947 with the use of William Tube. It was manufactured at the University of Manchester, England. The RAM which is a solid-state memory now was first invented in 1968 by Robert Dennard which is also known as the DRAM.

RAM stands for Random Access Memory that was defined as a form of virtual memory that is easily readable and can be changed into any order required. It stores data and mechanical codes virtually. There are two types of RAM namely Static Ram or SRAM and dynamic RAM or DRAM.

SRAM stores data using six transistor memory cells hence it is on an although more level of expensiveness to be produced but it is expensive only because of it’s faster speed and less dynamic power consumption as compared to a DRAM. A DRAM stores data using a transistor and capacitor pair. It is less expensive to produce as compared to SRAM and is a predominant form of computer memory.

RAM is typically used to serve as temporary storage. It is the working space for the operating system but it is also used in RAM disk, virtual memory and shadow RAM. RAM has its pros and cons. Its pros being high speed, volatility, fast memory, less power consumption, and long battery life. Its cons on the other side are expensive, limited space, and slower as compared to the CPU cache.

Main Differences Between Cache and RAM

  1. Caches are virtual and electronic components which store frequently used data. On the other hand, RAM is a computerized component which stores currently used data
  2. Cache is faster than RAM. Although, RAM is faster than secondary storage mediums.
  3. Cache is more expensive than RAM.
  4. The capacity of cache is smaller than the capacity of RAM.
  5. The cache holds frequently used data and program by the CPU. RAM holds programs and data that are currently executed by the CPU.
  6. The cache is classified into Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Whereas RAM is classified into SRAM and DRAM.

Conclusion

Though both cache and RAM are volatile memory and help in the fast functioning of the PC, they are completely different. As the definition suggests, Cache is fast memory hardware or software component that assists in the storage of frequently used data and programs in the CPU while RAM is a computing device that stores currently used data.

Overall, Cache is faster, smaller, and more expensive as compared to RAM. With an overall faster main memory, less access time, high speed of accessing data, and faster outputs, Cache is very advantageous to the computing devices.

On the other hand, RAM which was invented in the 2000s is an application program used to store currently used data. It is highly volatile, inexpensive, fast, and less power-consuming on its part. Hence, both cache and RAM are two peas in a pod. They need each other to function well.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1617427/
  2. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/2155620.2155659?casa_token=BWrQc1kiKLEAAAAA:94Wj3xp_j2g_JTPzt-rcElYjOlT3sffVVJaPPJLxAVxpNkGoun3_fp52V7IVBkuKUnVImYpa6Oav6A
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