What is Buffer Size?

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What is Buffer Size?
Buffer size refers to the size allocated for temporary storage of data or memory in a particular computer. When a particular program needs continuous flow of data or information, a computer buffer is needed as it allows for faster “reading” or data retrieval. The size of the buffer depends on the workload needed in running programs.

A clear example of the buffer system concept is in audio streaming. When a user plays a particular music or MP3 file, the computer actually connects to the buffer system before playing the music. The music program will sort of “save” a few seconds of the music file before it is played. So the user does not really listen to the music “real time” in the strictest sense of the word. The music that comes out is actually a “pre-collection” of data stored by the music program, so the user is more likely to hear an uninterrupted music file. The whole buffer system works to pre-store data to compensate if there are small interruptions along the way of streaming the audio file. But if the connection is really poor, users could still experience interruptions in “retrieving” the file. These interruptions also occur in case the file being retrieved is too large, like video files. Common in viewing videos are “buffering” interruptions, which simply means that the program is still “saving” or “collecting” data before actual playback.

But buffers sizes need not be set to extremely large values to improve computer or program performance. There is only a small chance of having to use “pre-collected” data on the buffer’s temporary memory storage. Buffer size also doesn’t really eat out a bulk of total disk space, as it may only represent less than 1% of it. Though extra buffer size will not hurt a computer’s performance, many experts also agree that having it bigger won’t be any help either.

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