A microprocessor or processor is the heart of the computer and it performs all the computational tasks, calculations and data processing etc inside the computer. In the world of personal computers, the terms microprocessor and CPU are used interchangeably. At the heart of all personal computers and most workstations sits a microprocessor. Microprocessors also control the logic of almost all digital devices, from clock radios to fuel-injection systems for automobiles.
Three basic characteristics differentiate microprocessors:
Instruction set is the set of instructions that the microprocessor can execute.
Bandwidth is the number of bits processed in a single instruction.
The clock speed determines how many instructions per second the processor can execute. It is given in megahertz (MHz).
The speed of the microprocessor is measured in the MHz or GHz. The processor is also known as the CPU (Central Processing Unit). It contains the control unit and the arithmetic unit and both works together to process the commands. CPU is used in every computer whether it is a workstation, server or a laptop. CPU is a complete computational engine that is designed as a chip. It starts the work when you turn on your computer.
CPU is designed to perform the arithmetic and logical operations inside the computer. Common operations inside the computer include adding, subtracting, multiplying, comparing the values and fetching the different numbers to process them. The higher the CPU clocks’ speed the more efficient will be the performance of the computer.
Computer’s performance is also influenced by the system bus architecture, memory used, type of the processor and software program being running. Pentium 4 is the fastest type of the Intel’s processor that contains 125,000,000 transistors and operates at the speed of 3.6 GHz.