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What is a Buffer?

Posted By On November 16, 2004 @ 1:00 PM In Computer Terms,System Tune-Up Help | No Comments

Q:
What is a “Buffer?”

A:
A buffer is basically an area of memory a hardware device or software program uses when it needs a constant, uninterrupted flow of information.

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For example, if you ever listened to any kind of streaming audio, the program you use probably “buffers” the signal a little before the music starts to play.

Here’s how it works. Your audio program “collects” a few seconds of audio then starts playing them. If there is a split second interruption, you don’t notice it since the audio you’re listing to is already a couple seconds old. Since you’re not listing as the audio at the same instant it comes in, it gives the program a few seconds to compensate for any slight interruptions (and there are lots of those). Doesn’t always work if the connection isn’t good, but it does help.

~ Steve

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