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Difference Between Buffering and Caching in OS
Buffering and caching, two important concepts in operating systems, are used to increase the data transmission and processing speed. The most basic difference between buffering and caching is that buffering is used to sync the speed of data transmission between sender and receive, while caching is used to increase the speed of data processing by the CPU.
In this article, we will discuss the important differences between buffering and caching. But before that, let's have a basic overview of buffering and caching so that it becomes easier to understand the differences between them.
What is Buffering?
The area in main memory (RAM) that temporarily stores the data while it is being transmitting between two devices is referred to as buffering. Thus, buffering is mainly used to match the speed of data transmission between the sender and receiver. It also enables the sender and receiver to have different data transfer sizes. Buffering also stores data temporarily when it is transferred between a device and an application.
Buffering also finds application in computer networking. It is used for fragmentation and reassembly of data. Buffering can be implemented in three capacities namely zero capacity, bounded capacity, and unbounded capacity.
What is Caching?
The cache is a memory that stores parts data and programs which are most frequently used by the processor. It is usually implemented on the same chip as the CPU. It stores a copy of the original data. However, the size of the cache memory is bounded because it contains the recently used data only.
The cache can also be implemented in RAM as well as in Disk. The cache data stored on RAM are fast to access relative to the disc cache. The primary function of the cache is to increase the speed of data access by the processor.
Difference between Buffering and Caching
The following table highlights all the important differences between buffering and caching −
|Associated with||It is an area in the primary memory. It is associated with RAM (Random Access Memory).||It is implemented on the processor. It can be implemented using RAM and disk too.|
|Used for||Buffering matches the speed of data stream between the sender and receiver.||Caching improves the access speed of the frequently used data.|
|Buffer||Buffering can be hardware buffer as well as software buffer.||Cache is a highspeed memory device, hence it is a hardware.|
|Policy||Buffering uses first−in first−out policy.||Caching follows least recently used policy.|
|Stores what?||A buffer stores the original copy of the data in memory.||A cache stores the original copy of the data in memory.|
|Application||Buffering used for input and output process.||Caching is used for reading and writing processes from the disc.|
From the above comparison, it is clear that the buffering is used to match the speed of data stream between the sender and receiver, while caching is used to improve the access speed of the frequently used data. Another major difference between buffering caching is that buffering is implemented using RAM, whereas cache is implemented on processor chip itself.
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