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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Motherboard and System Devices | System Cache | "Layers" of Cache ]

Level 2 (Secondary) Cache

The level 2 cache is a secondary cache to the level 1 cache, and is larger and slightly slower. It is used to catch recent accesses that are not caught by the level 1 cache, and is usually 64 KB to 2 MB in size. Level 2 cache is usually found either on the motherboard or a daughterboard that inserts into the motherboard. Pentium Pro processors actually have the level 2 cache in the same package as the processor itself (though it isn't in the same circuit where the processor and level 1 cache are) which means it runs much faster than level 2 cache that is separate and resides on the motherboard. Pentium II processors are in the middle; their cache runs at half the speed of the CPU.

Note: Level 2 cache is also sometimes called "external" cache since it resides outside the processor. (Even on Pentium Pros... it is on a separate chip in the same package as the processor.)

Next: Disk Cache

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