L2 Cache

Chapter 3

it's not part of the same wafer that gave rise to the CPU itself. Table 3.4 summarizes the L2 cache sizes of those CPUs that incorporate an L2 cache. Some CPUs are available with differing cache sizes, either as different variants at the same CPU speed or with differing cache sizes at different CPU speeds. Early Celeron CPUs had no L2 cache, which greatly reduced their performance relative to Pentium-II CPUs, but more recent models include 128KB of an L2 cache.

Table 3.4 x86 L2 Cache Sizes


L2 Cache Size

Pentium Pro










AMD Athlon


Placing the L2 cache on the CPU module improves performance relative to putting it on the motherboard largely because the cache can operate at a faster speed. An L2 cache on the motherboard operates at the motherboard bus speed (typically 100MHz today), whereas a cache on the CPU module has the potential to operate at much higher speeds.

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