What is a computer processor?

computer processor measures the performance of your computer. so, if you are searching for a computer to buy or improving the existing one, your first choice starts with the type of processor you want (the major factor you shouldn't miss out).

Here, you will find ample information that will assist you in buying the best processor.

What is CPU?

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is an electronic component that interprets and carries out the instructions of any application that run on a computer. It is a place where all the computing is done.

It is often called the “brain”, “engine” of a computer system. CPU is contained on a single integrated circuit called a microprocessor. All the other parts of the computer are there to serve the CPU.

Functions of CPU

The CPU consists of three elements:

  • ALU (Arithmetic/Logic unit)
  • Control Unit
  • Register

The Arithmetic/Logic Unit performs the mathematical calculations (addition, multiplication, subtraction and division) and logical comparisons.

The control unit is responsible for decoding program instructions by accessing sequentially, coordinates the flow of data in/out of ALU, registers, storages and various output devices.

Register is in charge of holding small units of program instructions after, during and before the execution of CPU.

Here, we need to talk a little about system bus. The computer components transfer data to each other through buses. Bus is a common pathway for all system elements on the motherboard. Each elements use bus to transfer data to and from it.

It is characterized by the amount of data it transfers. For example, an 8-bits data bus transfers 8-bits of data at a time, 16-bits data bus transfers 16-bits of data. The more widened bus, the faster the transfer of data and processing.

The system buses have different speed of transferring data. The CPU connects with memory or cache across high-speed data bus. This is because it processes a large amount of data in a second. It is called processor bus or FSB (Front Side Bus). It is the fastest bus in a computer system.

The other bus type is Input/Output bus (I/O bus). It includes more than two bus types. This type of bus is used for to connect graphic port and other peripheral components.

How computer processor works?

A computer executes a program or instruction in two stages: instruction and execution.

During instruction the computer gets or reads in a program instruction from input devices or running program. The read instruction then decoded and passed to the responsible part of the processor.

During execution time the fed instruction is executed by ALU whether it is calculation or logical comparison. The result of the execution will be stored in register or memory. Both actions together called one machine cycle. Modern processors perform multiple executions in one machine cycle.

So far we have seen how the CPU processes using the different units on the microprocessor. Let us see now how computer processor speed is measured.

How do you measure your computer processing speed?

The efficiency of computer processor is measured in using the machine cycle and clock speed.

Machine cycle = instruction + execution.

Clock speed = a series of pulse produced by the CPU at predetermined time.

Machine cycle is affected by the CPU clock speed. The shorter the gap between the pulses, the faster the processing speed would be. The machine cycle is measured in nanoseconds (one-billionth of one second) and pico seconds (one-trillionth of one second).

Clock speed is measured in megahertz, MHz (millions of cycles per second) or gigahertz, GHz (billions of cycles per second).The clock speed determines the speed at which the processor executes instructions.

A computer with 3.4GHz microprocessor means it operates at a speed of 3.4 billion cycles per second. This tells us a 3.4GHz processor is faster than 3.0GHz processor.

However, the speed of the processor doesn't necessarily mean speed of a computer. It also depends on motherboard speed.


We have tried to cover the basic of a computer processor. Choosing the best and functional processor is vital for your pc. Normally, it is good to determine first the scope of your work. Not all applications demand the same processor type.

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