Difference between Cache and RAM

When we start computer, two memory that being used are RAM and Cache. The main difference between these two is that the RAM is a computing device that stores data and programs currently used by the CPU. Whereas, the Cache is a fast memory component that stores frequently used data the CPU.

RAM is primary memory. It helps the CPU to access data within a minimum amount of time. On the other hand, Cache is a smaller and faster memory component in the computer. It holds the copies of data that are frequently used by the CPU. Cache is faster than RAM, CPU will access the cache first, if the data is not available in the cache, then the CPU will access the RAM.

What is RAM?

RAM (Random Access Memory) is also known as primary storage, main memory or direct access memory. Random Access Memory means that each individual byte in entire memory can be accessed directly.


In General, the programs are stored on the hard disk. The CPU requires a lot of time to access these programs from the hard disk. In this situation, the programs to be executed are brought into the RAM so that they can be accessed and executed faster. It takes a very short time to access data from the RAM when compared to accessing data from the secondary storage medium such as HDD (Hard Disk Drive) or SSD (Solid State Drive).

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It is a volatile memory, which requires a continuous flow of power to maintain the data. RAM is used to store data and instructions temporarily. It is a volatile memory. It means that its contents are lost when the power is turned off. RAM is a read/write memory. CPU can write data to RAM and read data from RAM. It is used to store data and instruction while it is being executed.

What is Cache?

Cache Memory is a high-speed memory that is placed between processor and RAM to increase the data execution speed. The CPU places it near to the processor to stores the frequently used data. The CPU first checks the cache for the required data. Even though the RAM is fast, it is not as fast as the cache. Therefore, storing the commonly required data in the cache is beneficial to increase the computation speed.

There are three different levels of cache.

L1-Cache: It is the fastest cache and it usually comes within the processor chip itself. The L1 cache typically ranges in size from 8KB to 64KB and uses the high-speed SRAM (Static RAM) instead of the slower and cheaper DRAM (Dynamic RAM) used for main memory.

The Intel Celeron processor uses two separate 16KB L1 caches, one for the instructions and one for the data.

L2-Cache: L2 cache comes between L1, RAM (processor L1-L2-RAM), and is bigger than the primary cache (typically 64 KB to 4MB).

L3-Chache: L3 Cache is not found nowadays as its function is replaced by L2 cache. L3 caches are found on the motherboard rather than the processor. It is kept between RAM and L2 cache.

Difference between RAM and Cache:

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RAM is a form of computer data storage that stores data and machine code currently being used. Cache is a component in the computer that stores data so that future requests for that data can be served faster.


RAM is faster than all other secondary storage mediums, but it is slower than the cache. Cache is much faster than the RAM. It is used to quickly access the data and information that is frequently used by the Processor.

Capacity and Price:

RAM is bigger in size and holds a higher capacity but is not expensive as a cache. Cache is smaller and holds a less capacity but it is much expensive than RAM.


RAM is used to holds data, programs, and data that are currently executed by the CPU. Whereas, Cache holds data that is frequently used by the CPU.


Both RAM and Cache are volatile memories. Cache is faster and expensive component that stores the frequently used data by the CPU. Whereas, RAM is also faster but not as like Cache and is less expensive than Cache that stores data and programs currently used by the CPU.

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