What is a computer processor?
Today, millions of people in developed countries have one or even several personal computers and laptops in their homes, which is not surprising, since these devices are used today for a variety of purposes: from entertainment to scientific and communication. However, a significant proportion of PC owners do not know their device, as if problems arise, they prefer to contact specialists. This approach is quite reasonable. But still it is worth knowing what the main components of this iron and intellectual “friend” of a person are. For example, many people are interested in what a processor (CPU) is, what types it is and how to choose it correctly.
Where is the PC brains
Obviously, in order to harmoniously and without human intervention to carry out a huge number of operations, some kind of control center is needed, which, like the brain, will transmit commands to various system components and peripheral devices. In a computer, this role is assigned to a processor that performs all logical and arithmetic operations,asked by a special program. In addition, it manages all other PC devices.
To understand what a computer processor, you need to know how it works. Unlike its counterparts of the past decades, modern devices of this type have miniature sizes. At first glance, the microprocessor is a rectangular thin plate of durable crystalline silicon. On its relatively small area are the circuits that provide the functionality of the “brain” of a personal computer. The plate is enclosed in a ceramic or plastic flat case, to which it is connected by means of very thin gold wires, provided with metal tips. Thanks to this design, the processor easily and securely connects to the PC motherboard.
Who has already learned what a processor is, they want to understand what components it consists of. Despite its small size, this device includes many components. Among them:
- address bus;
- data buses;
- arithmetic logic unit;
- cache, or fast memory, which has a small amount of 8-512 KB;
- math coprocessor;
- team counters.
Under this term hides many concepts. If it is a question of what a processor is and what parts it consists of, then the core is its component, designed to execute one command flow. In addition, there are multi-core options that can execute multiple streams of commands.
The "nuclear" characteristics include:
- command system;
- number of functional blocks;
- supply voltage;
- built-in cache;
- crystal area;
- logical and physical interface;
- maximum and typical heat dissipation;
- clock frequencies;
- production technology.
At the same time, in the physical sense, the words “processor core” are understood to mean its part, which contains the main functional blocks or the usually open microprocessor chip. In any case, it is - a necessary part of the "brain" of the PC. Thus, the question “what is a nuclear processor” sounds somewhat incorrect if, of course, only the CPU is considered, and not all those devices and programs, which are also called processors.
Anyone who has already learned what a computer processor is is likely to be interested in the way in which he manages the rest of the PC. Obviously, such a task is only possible for a complex system. It is called a processor bus and is a collection of signal lines combined by purpose. Each of them has a specific data transfer protocol and electrical characteristics. Only the CPU is connected to the processor itself, or, as it is also called, the system bus, and all other devices are connected via the controllers of the motherboard. At the same time, there are options when the memory is connected directly to the processor, which ensures its greater efficiency. It is appropriate to ask the question of what is the processor's bitness, since, for example, the expression “processor's bitness x 64” means that this device is equipped with a 64-bit data bus, and it processes such a number of bits per unit clock cycle.
Fast memory, or cache, is a buffer between the processor and the system memory controller, which is rather slow.This component is designed to increase the overall performance of the entire device. To achieve this goal, the data blocks that are being processed at the moment are transferred and stored to the buffer, and therefore the processor does not always have to access the system memory.
The cache is divided into three levels:
- Level 1 L1
It is divided into two caches - instructions and data, is the fastest and performs work directly with the processor core.
- Second level L2
The L2 cache interacts with L1. It is many times larger in volume and is complete.
- Third level L3
Some modern microprocessors also have a third level, which is more than the previous two, but works much slower. The fact is that the tire between the 2nd and 3rd level is narrower than between the 1st and 2nd. However, the speed of the 3rd level is still significantly higher than the speed of the system memory. Depending on whether the information entering the cache is repeated at different levels or not, there are two types of this component of the processor: exclusive and non-exclusive. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s hard to say which one is better.We can only note that the first type is used in AMD microprocessors, and the second - in Intel.
Talking about what a computer processor is, you should pay attention to all components, since this complex device functions only thanks to the coordinated work of each of them. For example, it would seem, what importance can such a primitive device as a connector have? However, its use facilitates the replacement of the processor when upgrading the PC or its removal for the period of repair.
What is the frequency of the processor
For comparison of any technical devices and in order to give an idea of their capabilities, certain characteristics are used that have a numerical expression. For processors, the main one is the clock frequency. Moreover, this concept has cardinal differences when it comes to single-core and multi-core variants. So, what is the processor clock frequency if it is able to execute only one command stream? It turns out that this parameter shows how much computing a specific single-core device can produce per unit of time. Accordingly, the greater the clock frequency, the more the processor can perform operations per unit of time.Most often it is 1.0-4 GHz and is determined by multiplying the external frequency by a certain constant value. It is quite another thing if you need to figure out what a processor clock frequency is. In this case, some would-be experts recommend calculating this parameter for the entire device, multiplying the data for the single-core version by the number of components. However, this is fundamentally wrong, since the clock frequency of the entire device does not change from the number of cores, and the positive effect only concerns processor performance. In addition, it should be noted that when choosing a processor, the frequency should not be a decisive factor, but the values of all its characteristics as a whole should be considered.
What is a graphics processor
As you know, modern PCs provide an excellent “picture”. This is achieved through a graphics processor - a special device that performs graphic rendering. In addition, they are intended for use as an accelerator for 3D graphics. Thanks to the conveyor architecture, such devices process images and other graphics much more efficiently than the CPU described above.
Word processor: what is it?
In matters related to PC architecture, there is currently a certain confusion, since the same terms are often used to mean very different things. In particular, the term processor also refers to programs for formatting texts, changing fonts, paragraphs, spell checking, and more. The best-known examples are OpenOffice.org, Writer, and the super popular Microsoft Word. Therefore, the title can be safely cited when you need to answer the question of what a word processor.
A few words about the most common processors for personal computers.
The first place in popularity is the processor Intel Core i5. It is considered an excellent option when you need a powerful gaming machine. It is followed by a model from Intel - Celeron E3200, which is expensive, but is the best choice for serious work in the office. There are quite a few fans among specialists who have one more processor from Intel, the quad-core Core 2 Quad. If you are not seeking to become the owner of a super-power machine and want to save money, then pay attention to the AMD Athlon II X2215 or AMD Phenom II X4945.
Now you know what a processor is, what types it happens and what characteristics it possesses.