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What is the difference between something that is buffered vs. cached?


A buffer is something that has yet to be "written" to disk. A cache is something that has been "read" from the disk and stored for later use.

Buffers are allocated by various processes to use as input queues, etc. A simplistic explanation of buffers is that they allow processes to temporarily store input in memory until the process can deal with it.

Cache is typically frequently requested disk I/O. If multiple processes are accessing the same files, much of those files will be cached to improve performance (RAM being so much faster than hard drives).
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