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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Motherboard and System Devices | System Cache | Cache Structure and Packaging ]

Motherboard Cache

The most common cache design places the chips directly on the motherboard. On some older designs the cache is several SRAM chips in sockets (which means it can be replaced, but also means it is more prone to certain types of failures). On most newer motherboards it is in the form of 1 to 4 chips soldered directly to the board. If the cache is socketed, you can in some cases add extra SRAM chips to increase the size of the data store. The exact chips you need to add depend on the motherboard; your manual is a necessity here.

Some motherboard support the use of both soldered cache and also a COASt module. To use both you may need to change a jumper setting on the motherboard.

Warning: There are some motherboards that actually have fake level 2 cache on them. These are most common on 486 motherboards with two or so flat cache chips soldered directly to the motherboard. In some cases, these chips are actually just empty plastic packages! In many cases the BIOS is even hacked so that it will report external (level 2) cache even when it doesn't exist. You can test for this by disabling the external cache. If you disable it and see no performance difference in a good benchmark program, the cache may be fake.

Next: COASt Modules

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