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Direct mapped (associativity = 1)
- Each word of main memory can be stored in exactly one word of the cache memory
- A main memory word can be stored in any location in the cache
Set associative (associativity = k)
- Each main memory word can be stored in one of k places in the cache
Direct mapped and set-associative caches give rise to conflict misses.
Direct mapped caches are faster, fully associative caches too expensive and slow (if reasonably large). Set-associative caches are a compromise.