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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Motherboard and System Devices | System BIOS | BIOS Settings | Advanced Features ]

External Cache

This setting enables or disables the external cache on your processor, also known as the L2 or level 2 cache. Most 486 or later motherboards include this cache memory. Like the internal cache setting, this should be enabled at all times unless you are disabling it for troubleshooting purposes. Disabling the external cache will cause your system to slow down dramatically, but you can use it if you are having system crashes and suspect a problem with the cache chips.

On some BIOSes you may see three choices: "Disabled", "Write Through" and "Write Back". These refer to the cache's write policy. The write back cache policy will produce the best performance. 

Note: There are some motherboards out on the market, particular PCI-based 486 motherboards, that have fake level 2 cache on the board. One way to test for this is to disable the external cache and see if there is a performance decrease in the system. If there isn't, you never had any level 2 cache to begin with. In addition, some systems will report (in the System Configuration Summary) the presence of enabled level 2 cache even when it is disabled. This is a BIOS that has been "doctored" and is a sign of fake cache on the motherboard as well. Amazing the trouble people will go to to cheat someone out of a few bucks, isn't it?

Next: Quick Power On Self Test / Quick Boot


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