When to bake vs. when to use disk cache?

What’s the rationale for baking vs. using the disk cache for the particle simulation?

I’ve only used particle simulation a little bit, but I’m having a hard time thinking of a reason why I would ever want to bake a particle simulation.

Baking a particle simulation makes the Blender project larger (since the simulation is saved as part of the project file) and I assume takes up more system memory (since the simulation is stored in memory).

Using the disk cache seems like a better use of system memory and disk management.

But maybe I’m missing something. Under what situations would I want to use the bake feature? What advantages does baking have over the disk cache?

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The question isn’t baking vs. disk cache. Actually, it’s blend file cache vs. disk cache (or more accurately drive cache).

When you run a simulation in real-time, it is basically the same as baking except that things can be adjusted while the simulation is running and any subsequent changes will reset the cache automatically. Pressing bake sort of “locks it in.”

If the cache is saved to a drive it is possible to use it in another blend file by checking the “External” option (although I was only able to get that to work in 2.7).

Also, it seems that a duplicate of the particle data is stored in memory for fast playback. (correct me if I’m wrong)

The Blender manual describes the possibilities really well, and it’s easy to check it anytime by hovering over the UI element and pressing f1.

God bless and have a great day, dude!