Temporary computer storage used for quick retrieval of data in order to increase processing speed. The cached data can be stored in a reserved area of RAM, a special cache chip (separate from the CPU) that provides faster access than RAM, or on the disk drive. By keeping frequently accessed data in a rapidly accessible place, the computer can respond quickly to requests for those data without having to perform time-consuming searches of RAM or hard drives. Since a “stale” cache will contain data that have been superseded by later information, the cached data must be refreshed periodically.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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