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Intel Core2 L2 cache vs. overall performance
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Written by Gizmo   
Sunday, 09 September 2007 23:10
Nordic Hardware take a trio of Intel chips and put them through the paces to answer the question: "Does L2 cache size really make THAT much difference in performance?"

According to their figures , the answer is really "It depends".  Big surprise there, right?

Mostly, the performance difference between the models with 1 MB of cache and the models with 4 MB of cache is in the area of 20% or less (usually quite a bit less, with 8-10% being typical).  However, the difference in performance really depends on the application, and sometimes applications that you would THINK would benefit from the extra cache don't seem to.

If you read between the lines, though, what you have to conclude is that the main performance boost is in the L1 cache.  Although NH didn't evaluate L1 cache boost (because all Intel Core2 modes have the same amount of L1 cache), it would not be unreasonable to expect a substantial boost in speed from increasing the L1 cache.  Unfortunately, because of the nature of how L1 cache works, boosting the size of L1 would result in substantial power consumption increases.

What am I on about?  Dunno, really; just idle ruminations on a Sunday night.  :)

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