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microprocessor (logic chip)

A microprocessor, sometimes called a logic chip, is a computer processor on a microchip.

The microprocessor contains all, or most of, the central processing unit (CPU) functions and is the "engine" that goes into motion when you turn your computer on. A microprocessor is designed to perform arithmetic and logic operations that make use of small number-holding areas called registers. Typical microprocessor operations include adding, subtracting, comparing two numbers, and fetching numbers from one area to another. These operations are the result of a set of instructions that are part of the microprocessor design.

When your computer is turned on, the microprocessor gets the first instruction from the basic input/output system (BIOS) that comes with the computer as part of its memory. After that, either the BIOS, or the operating system that BIOS loads into computer memory, or an application progam is "driving" the microprocessor, giving it instructions to perform.

This was last updated in April 2006

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