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Cache

Pronounced cash, a special highspeed storage mechanism. It can be either a reserved section of main memory or an independent highspeed storage device. Two types of caching are commonly used in personal computers: memory caching and disk caching. A memory cache, sometimes called a cache store or RAM cache, is a portion of memory made of highspeed static RAM (SRAM) instead of the slower and cheaper dynamic RAM (DRAM) used for main memory. Memory caching is effective because most programs access the same data or instructions over and over. Disk caching works under the same principle as memory caching, but instead of using highspeed SRAM, a disk cache uses conventional main memory. When data is found in the cache, it is called a cache hit, and the effectiveness of a cache is judged by its hit rate.


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A type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly; that is, any byte of memory can be accessed without touching the preceding bytes. RAM is the most common type of memory found in computers and other devices, such as printers. There are two basic types of RAM: dynamic RAM (DRAM) and static RAM (SRAM).
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A temporary storage area, usually in RAM. The purpose of most buffers is to act as a holding area, enabling the CPU to manipulate data before transferring it to a device. Because the processes of reading and writing data to a disk are relatively slow, many programs keep track of data changes in a buffer and then copy the buffer to a disk. For example, word processors employ a buffer to keep track of changes to files. Then when you save the file, the word processor updates the disk file with the contents of the buffer. This is much more efficient than accessing the file on the disk each time you make a change to the file. Note that because your changes are initially stored in a buffer, not on the disk, all of them will be lost if the computer fails during an editing session. For this reason, it is a good idea to save your file periodically. Most word processors automatically save files at regular intervals. Another common use of buffers is for printing documents. When you enter a PRINT command, the operating system copies your document to a print buffer (a free area in memory or on a disk) from which the printer can draw characters at its own pace. This frees the computer to perform other tasks while the printer is running in the background. Print buffering is called spooling. Most keyboard drivers also contain a buffer so that you can edit typing mistakes before sending your command to a program. Many operating systems, including DOS, also use a disk buffer to temporarily hold data that they have read from a disk. The disk buffer is really a cache.
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A technique that maximizes processing speed through the temporary use of highspeed storage devices. Input files are transferred from slower, permanent storage and queued in the highspeed devices to await processing, or output files are queued in highspeed devices to await transfer to slower storage devices.
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Instead of using one large disk to store data, one can use many smaller disks (because they are cheaper). See disk mirroring and duplexing. An approach to using many lowcost drives as a group to improve performance, yet also provides a degree of redundancy that makes the chance of data loss remote.
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A set of conditions, events, and surroundings that don’t change. In theory, once understood, a static environment doesn’t offer new or surprising elements. A static IT environment is any system that is intended to remain unchanged by users and administrators. The goal is to prevent or at least reduce the possibility of a user implementing change that could result in reduced security or functional operation.
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