A processor is a logical circuit that works the same way for a system as the brain works in a human body. It reads different instructions, including logical, arithmetical, Input/Output (I/O), etc., from the operating system (OS) and processes them to generate the required output. The three main steps that a processor follows to function are:
Fetch: The processor retrieves instructions, usually from the Random Access Memory (RAM).
Decode: A decoder then converts these instructions into machine understandable language and transmits them to the other components of a computer system.
Execute: The destination components perform the instructed operations to generate the required output.
It is an electronic chip or a logical circuit, integrating within a system to perform the instructed operations on the external data source, like memory. With time, the processors have evolved, and the latest ones can execute millions of instructions per second.
A processor, generally referred to as Central Processing Unit (CPU), includes the following basic elements:
Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) to perform arithmetic and logic operations.
Floating Point Unit (FPU), also called numeric or math coprocessor, to process numbers.
Registers to supply instructions to other units and store the results post-processing.
Cache Memory to quickly access the data and save time.
A small chip that resides in computers and other electronic devices. Its basic job is to receive input and provide the appropriate output. While this may seem like a simple task, modern processors can handle trillions of calculations per second. The central processor is also known as the CPU, or "central processing unit." This processor handles all the basic system instructions, such as processing mouse and keyboard input and running applications. Most desktop computers contain a CPU developed by either Intel or AMD, both of which use the x86 processor architecture. Mobile devices, such as laptops and tablets, may use Intel and AMD CPUs and use specific mobile processors developed by companies like ARM or Apple.
Processors are constituted of one or more individual processing units, called cores. These cores are small processor that independently process computational tasks at a certain speed, called “clock speed.” In the fast-pacing world of today, each one of us wants systems with minimal processing time. However, increasing clock-speed beyond a particular limit turns technically infeasible. Hence, modern computers employ multi-cores, like dual-core, quad-core, etc., in a single processor to process different instructions simultaneously, enabling systems to multi-task.
Types of Processors
The two main kinds of processors are 32-bit processors and 64-bit processors. Their numbers represent the number of memory addresses they can handle. While a 32-bit processor can access 232 memory addresses, a 64-bit processor can access 264 memory addresses.
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