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Processor- What it’s ?

The processor, or the CPU (Central Processing Unit), is typically thought of as the brain of the computer. It controls all of the processes done through the computer. The processor of a computer is the hardware within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program. It does this by performing the basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations of the system. The overall fundamental operation of most CPUs is to execute a sequence of stored instructions called a program. These instructions are kept in some kind of computer memory.

There are two typical components to all CPUs. These are the Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) and the Control Unit (CU). The ALU performs arithmetic and logical operations, while the CU extracts instructions from memory and decodes and executes them. The CU will call on the ALU whenever necessary.

There are four steps to just about every CPU: fetch, decode, execute, and write back. During the first step, fetch, an instruction is retrieved from program memory. Next, during the decode step, that instruction is broken up into parts that have significance to other parts of the CPU. Then, various portions of the CPU are connected so that they can perform the desired operations, this is the execute step. Finally, the results of the execute step are written back to some form of memory. Typically, results are written to some internal CPU register for quick access by subsequent instructions. So, basically, the CPU is responsible for reading instructions from the computer’s memory, reading data specified in arguments from the memory, and writing results back to the memory.

So, how does a processor do all of the above? Well, hardwired into a processor’s design is a list of basic operations that it can perform. These are called an instruction set. The operations of the CPU include adding or subtracting two numbers, comparing numbers, or jumping to a different part of a program. Each operation itself is represented by a specific sequence of bits. This sequence is called opcode. To execute an instruction in a computer program, the processor uses the opcode for that instruction, as well as its arguments.

When looking at processors, there are two very important factors of the processor to consider. These are the clock rate and the core count. The clock rate is the speed at which a microprocessor executes instructions. Processors require a fixed number of clock ticks, or clock cycles, to execute each individual instruction. The faster the clock rate, the more instructions the CPU can execute per second. So, you want to make sure your processor has a good clock rate. The core count identifies how many independent CPUs are running within a single architecture. The higher the core count, the more potential for better multiprocessing. So, similar to the clock rate, you want to be sure your processor has a decent core count. Core counts are usually identified with a prefix (ex: dual-core, quad-core, hexa core, and so on).

The CPU controls all processes that are done through the computer; this is why it is known as the brain of the computer. It is important to understand how a processor works, and its key components, so that you can better understand your computer in general.