How important is L1 cache? I noticed some dual-core AMD processors have upto 128KB+128KB L1 cache while I haven't seen a single Intel processor that has more than 32KB.
Is shared L2 cache an advantage or disadvantage? Intel seems to use this with their C2Ds but the Athlon 64 X2s cache are not shared.
It is not totally simple comparing L1 and L2 sizes bwteen different processor types.
Intel's L2 is exceptionally fast, often talking roughly half the clock cycles of the AMD design to fetch data from L2.
AMD compensates for this by having a larger L1.
Latency for L1 is much lower than it is to L2 or L3 cache.
In some respects it's somewhat similar to AMD's Hypertransport versus Intels FSB.
AMD's can bet data from main memory quite a bit quicker than Intel can because of Hypertransport versus FSB/Northbridger, but Intel more or less makes up for it with a bigger L2 cache. Amd's L2 is sloewer than Intels, but they make up for it with bigger L1
L1 needs to be balanced versus l2 speed, because latency goes up as size increases, but there are fewer hits to l2 which is even slower, so it's a balancing act.