System Hardware Component: Processor

The processor is the most important component on the motherboard and it act as a brain of the system. It means that all the processing functions are done by the processor.

Processors are a small integrated silicon chips consisting of millions of transistors. Two manufacturers are the most famous in the designing and manufacturing of the processors and they are Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

Figure: The Processor

Processors are basically two types based on their physical shape. One is Pin Gate Array (PGA) in which the processor has pins that are used to fix the processor in the processor socket of the motherboard and it is the older type. The second one is the Land Gate Array (LGA) in which the processors have the contacts instead of pins and they have less probability to be damaged and nowadays LGA type processors are mostly used.

Features of the Processor

There are many features of the processor but few of them are following





Architecture refers to the design and structure of the processors and there are basically two things in the Architecture of the processors , one is the Data lines or Bus and other is the number of cores of the processors.

In the Data lines architecture, there are further two types of architectures found in the Processors, one is 32-bits and the second is 64-bits. The 32-bits suggests that there are 32 data lines or pathways between the processor and the primary memory which is RAM while the 64-bits suggests that there are 64 data lines between the processor and the memory. Generally the 32-bits or 64-bits data lines are also known as the 32-bit Bus or 64-bit Bus.

Figure: 32-bit and 64-bit architecture

Another thing in the architecture of processor is the number of cores of a processor. The number of cores means that the number of instructions per second a processor can handle. So the greater the number of cores in the processor, the more number of instructions it will process in a unit time. In simple words, the number of cores of a processor means that there are multiple processors that the CPU has. There can be dual-core (2 processors), quad-core (4 processors), hexa-core (6 processors) and octa-core (8 processors)CPU.

Figure: Difference between different Multiple core processors


The speed of the processor refers to the number of cycles per second a processor can handle. Its unit is Hertz (Hz). The number of cycles of the electrical signals can be calculated by the internal clock of the processor. There are various types of processors available in the market which have different speeds. The first processor made by the IBM had the speed in MHz (megahertz) while nowadays the processors have speed in gigahertz (GHz) and more.

Figure: Speed of the processor in windows 7


Cache is a very quick form of memory that greatly speeds up the performance of your computer. Cache is embedded in the processors in order to improve its speed and performance. These are used in the processors to buffer the running applications within the processor so that the processor can access them quickly.

There are three different kinds/levels of cache which are Level 1 cache (L1 cache), Level 2 cache (L2 cache) and Level 3 cache (L3 cache). The speed of these levels of cache is like: L1 is fastest, L2 is moderated and L3 is slowest among them. Similarly the sizes of these levels are such that: the L1 is the smallest among these and L2 has a moderate size and then L3 is the biggest among these levels. The following figure shows the3 levels of the cache within the processor.

Figure: Three levels of Cache in the processor
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