Browse Definitions:
Definition

processor (CPU)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A processor is the logic circuitry that responds to and processes the basic instructions that drive a computer. The four primary functions of a processor are fetch, decode, execute and writeback.

The basic elements of a processor:

The arithmetic logic unit (ALU), which carries out arithmetic and logic operations on the operands in instructions

The floating point unit (FPU), also known as a math coprocessor or numeric coprocessor, a specialized coprocessor that manipulates numbers more quickly than the basic microprocessor circuitry can.

Registers, which hold instructions and other data. Registers supply operands to the ALU and store the results of operations.

L1 and L2 cache memory. Their inclusion in the CPU saves time compared to having to get data from random access memory (RAM).

Most processors today are multi-core, which means that the IC contains two or more processors for enhanced performance, reduced power consumption and more efficient simultaneous processing of multiple tasks (see: parallel processing). Multi-core set-ups are similar to having multiple, separate processors installed in the same computer, but because the processors are actually plugged into the same socket, the connection between them is faster. 

The term processor is used interchangeably with the term central processing unit (CPU), although strictly speaking, the CPU is not the only processor in a computer. The GPU (graphics processing unit) is the most notable example but the hard drive and other devices within a computer also perform some processing independently. Nevertheless, the term processor is generally understood to mean the CPU.

The processor in a personal computer or embedded in small devices is often called a microprocessor. That term simply means that the processor's elements are contained on a single integrated circuitry (IC) chip.

The two main competitors in the processor market are Intel and AMD.

The KMedia channel provides an introduction to CPUs:

This was last updated in September 2016

Continue Reading About processor (CPU)

Join the conversation

6 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

it very helpful.....
Cancel
i dont get it
Cancel
well i dont get nothing very hard explanation
Cancel
hi evry1 I like ice cream and jelly
Cancel
waddup blud fanks for the pro tipz
Cancel
hi i also like ice cream and jelly bluddddd
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • cyborg anthropologist

    A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

  • conduct risk

    Conduct risk is the prospect of financial loss to an organization that is caused by the actions of an organization's ...

SearchSecurity

  • application whitelisting

    Application whitelisting is the practice of identifying applications that have been deemed safe for execution and restricting all...

  • security

    Security, in information technology (IT), is the defense of digital information and IT assets against internal and external, ...

  • insider threat

    An insider threat is a malicious hacker (also called a cracker or a black hat) who is an employee or officer of a business, ...

SearchHealthIT

  • HIPAA Privacy Rule

    The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, commonly known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule, establishes ...

  • HIPAA business associate agreement (BAA)

    Under the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, a HIPAA business associate agreement (BAA) is a ...

  • telemedicine

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • data recovery

    Data recovery restores data that has been lost, accidentally deleted, corrupted or made inaccessible. Learn how data recovery ...

  • disaster recovery plan (DRP)

    A company's disaster recovery policy is enhanced with a documented DR plan that formulates strategies, and outlines preparation ...

  • fault-tolerant

    Systems with integrated fault tolerance are designed to withstand multiple hardware failures to ensure continuous availability.

SearchStorage

  • data deduplication

    Deduplication retains one unique data instance to reduce storage and bandwidth consumed by remote backups, replication and ...

  • byte

    In most computer systems, a byte is a unit of data that is eight binary digits long. Bytes are often used to represent a ...

  • Secure Digital card (SD card)

    SD cards use flash memory to provide nonvolatile storage. They are more rugged than traditional storage media and are used in ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • flash file system

    Flash file systems are designed specifically for memory devices. A well-designed flash device and flash file system ensure ...

  • IOPS (input/output operations per second)

    IOPS measures the maximum number of reads and writes to non-contiguous storage. It is not an actual benchmark since vendor ...

  • eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard)

    An embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) is a small storage device made up of NAND flash memory and a simple storage controller.

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close