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Microprocessors

Terms related to microprocessors, including definitions about silicon chips and words and phrases about computer processors.

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  • optical transceiver chip - An optical transceiver chip is an integrated circuit (IC) that transmits and receives data using optical fiber rather than electrical wire.
  • overclocking - Overclocking is resetting some computer component so that it runs faster than the manufacturer-specified speed.
  • parallel presence detect (PPD) - Parallel presence detect (PPD) is a method of using resistors to communicate a memory module's speed and density to the basic input/output system (BIOS) when a computer boots (starts or restarts).
  • PDP-11 (Programmed Data Processor-11) - PDP-11 (Programmed Data Processor-1 is one of the most famous computers in computing history, one of a series manufactured by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) from the early 1960s through the mid-1990s.
  • Pentium - Also see the Pentium MMX and the Pentium 3.
  • petaflop - A petaflop is a measure of a computer's processing speed and can be expressed as a quadrillion (thousand trillion) floating point operations per second (FLOPS).
  • photolithography - Photolithography is the standard method of printed circuit board (PCB) and microprocessor fabrication.
  • PIC microcontrollers - PIC microcontrollers are a family of specialized microcontroller chips produced by Microchip Technology in Chandler, Arizona.
  • power-on reset (PoR) - A power-on reset (PoR) is a circuit that provides a predictable, regulated voltage to a microprocessor or microcontroller with the initial application of power.
  • PowerPC - PowerPC is a microprocessor architecture that was developed jointly by Apple, IBM, and Motorola.
  • PPGA (plastic pin grid array) - PPGA (plastic pin grid array) is a microchip design from Intel that has the silicon core of the microchip facing down toward the computer motherboard.
  • predication (branch predication) - Predication (also called branch predication) is a process implemented in Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing (EPIC)-based processors and their compilers to increase performance by eschewing branch prediction (a common technique used in modern processors), where a wrong guess by the processor brings a performance penalty.
  • printed circuit board (PCB) - A printed circuit board (PCB) is the board base for physically supporting and wiring surface-mounted and socketed components in most electronics.
  • processing in memory (PIM) - Processing in memory (PIM, sometimes called processor in memory) is the integration of a processor with RAM (usually DRAM or SRAM) on a single chip.
  • processor (CPU) - A processor is the logic circuitry that responds to and processes the basic instructions that drive a computer.
  • processor serial number (PSN) - A PSN (processor serial number) is a software-readable unique serial number that Intel has stamped into its Pentium 3 microprocessor.
  • proximity sensing - Proximity sensing is the ability of a robot to tell when it is near an object, or when something is near it.
  • quad gate - A quad gate is an IC (integrated circuit or chip) containing four logic gates.
  • quad-core processor - A quad-core processor is a chip with four independent units called cores that read and execute central processing unit (CPU) instructions such as add, move data, and branch.
  • RAMDAC (random access memory digital-to-analog converter) - RAMDAC (random access memory digital-to-analog converter) is a microchip that converts digital image data into the analog data needed by a computer display.
  • real-time clock (RTC) - A real-time clock (RTC) is a battery-powered clock that is included in a microchip in a computer motherboard.
  • register (processor register, CPU register) - A processor register is one of a small set of data holding places that are part of the computer processor.
  • RIMM - In a computer, a RIMM is a memory module developed by Kingston Technology Corp.
  • RISC (reduced instruction set computer) - RISC (reduced instruction set computer) is a microprocessor that is designed to perform a smaller number of types of computer instructions so that it can operate at a higher speed (perform more millions of instructions per second, or MIPS).
  • Ryzen (AMD Ryzen) - Ryzen (pronounced RYE zen) is an AMD CPU aimed at the server, desktop, workstation, media center PC and all-in-one markets.
  • SDRAM (synchronous DRAM) - SDRAM (synchronous DRAM) is a generic name for various kinds of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) that are synchronized with the clock speed that the microprocessor is optimized for.
  • segmented memory - Segmented memory is a system of addressing computer memory, which may be physical or virtual and may be operating in real or protected mode.
  • selenium - What is selenium?Selenium is a non-metallic element that is often used as a semiconductor material, as a rectifier or in xerography.
  • semiconductor fab - A semiconductor fab is a manufacturing plant in which raw silicon wafers are turned into integrated circuits.
  • SerDes (serializer/deserializer) - A SerDes or serializer/deserializer is an integrated circuit (IC or chip) transceiver that converts parallel data to serial data and vice-versa.
  • serial communications interface (SCI) - A serial communications interface (SCI) is a device that enables the serial (one bit at a time) exchange of data between a microprocessor and peripherals such as printers, external drives, scanners, or mice.
  • serial peripheral interface (SPI) - In a computer, a serial peripheral interface (SPI) is an interface that enables the serial (one bit at a time) exchange of data between two devices, one called a master and the other called a slave.
  • shift register - A shift register is a digital memory circuit found in calculators, computers, and data-processing systems.
  • silicon photonics - Silicon photonics is an evolving technology in which data is transferred among computer chips by optical rays.
  • SIMM (single in-line memory module) - A SIMM (single in-line memory module) is a module containing one or several random access memory (RAM) chips on a small circuit board with pins that connect to the computer motherboard.
  • smart card - A smart card is a physical card that has an embedded integrated chip that acts as a security token.
  • SoC testing (system-on-a-chip testing) - SoC (system-on-a-chip) testing is the testing of system-on-a-chip (SoC) devices.
  • Socket 7 - Socket 7 is the descriptive term for the way certain Intel Pentium microprocessors plug into a computer motherboard so that it makes contact with the motherboard's built-in wires or data bus.
  • softcooling (software cooling) - Softcooling is a software-based method of computer component cooling, conducted either by adjusting component settings or by using softcooling products.
  • Southbridge - Southbridge is an Intel chipset that manages the basic forms of input/output (I/O) such as Universal Serial Bus (USB), serial, audio, Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE), and Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) I/O in a computer.
  • SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture)  - SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture) is a 32- and 64-bit microprocessor architecture from Sun Microsystems that is based on reduced instruction set computing (RISC).
  • speculation (speculative loading) - Speculation (also known as speculative loading), is a process implemented in Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing (EPIC) processors and their compilers to reduce processor-memory exchanging bottlenecks or latency by putting all the data into memory in advance of an actual load instruction.
  • stack pointer - A stack pointer is a small register that stores the address of the last program request in a stack.
  • stepper - A stepper is a machine used to project the image of a circuit in photolithographic semiconductor fabrication.
  • stepping - Stepping is a number used by Intel to identify what level of design change a microprocessor was built to.
  • stretchable silicon - Stretchable silicon is a flexible form of silicon manufactured in thin, wavelike ribbons that can be expanded and compressed like accordion bellows.
  • substrate - A substrate is a solid substance or medium to which another substance is applied and to which that second substance adheres.
  • superscalar - Superscalar describes a microprocessor design that makes it possible for more than one instruction at a time to be executed during a single clock cycle.
  • system-on-a-chip (SoC) - System-on-a-chip (SoC) technology is the packaging of all the necessary electronic circuits and parts for a "system" (such as a cell phone or digital camera) on a single integrated circuit (IC), generally known as a microchip.
  • teraflop - A teraflop is a measure of a computer's speed and can be expressed as: A trillion floating point operations per second 10 to the 12th power floating-point operations per second 2 to the 40th power flops Today's fastest parallel computing operations are capable of teraflop speeds.
  • thermal grease (thermal paste or thermal compound) - Thermal grease, also called thermal paste or thermal compound, is a substance used to promote better heat conduction between two surfaces and is commonly used between a microprocessor and a heatsink.
  • thyristor - A thyristor is a four-layer semiconductor device, consisting of alternating P type and N type materials (PNPN).
  • transistor-to-transistor logic (TTL) - Transistor-transistor logic (TTL) is a digital logic design in which bipolar transistors act on direct-current pulses.
  • true multitasking - True multitasking is the capacity of an operating system to carry out two or more tasks simultaneously rather than switching from one task to another.
  • USART (Universal Synchronous/Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter) - A USART (Universal Synchronous/Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter) is a microchip that facilitates communication through a computer's serial port using the RS-232C protocol.
  • Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) - VLSI (very large-scale integration) is the current level of computer microchip miniaturization and refers to microchips containing in the hundreds of thousands of transistor s.
  • VLIW (very long instruction word) - Very long instruction word (VLIW) describes a computer processing architecture in which a language compiler or pre-processor breaks program instruction down into basic operations that can be performed by the processor in parallel (that is, at the same time).
  • volatile - In general, volatile (from the Latin "volatilis" meaning "to fly")is an adjective used to describe something unstable or changeable.
  • voltage reference - A voltage reference is an electronic component or circuit that produces a constant DC (direct-current) output voltage regardless of variations in external conditions such as temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, current demand, or the passage of time.
  • von Neumann bottleneck - The von Neumann bottleneck is a limitation on throughput caused by the standard personal computer architecture.
  • wait state - A wait state is a situation in which a computer program or processor is waiting for the completion of some event before resuming activity.
  • What is server virtualization? The ultimate guide - Server virtualization is a process that creates and abstracts multiple virtual instances on a single server.
  • Wirth's Law - Wirth's Law states that computer software increases in complexity faster than does the ability of available hardware to run it.
  • x86 - x86 is a generic name for the series of Intel microprocessor families that began with the 80286 microprocessor.
  • x86-64 - x86-64 is a 64-bit processing technology developed by AMD that debuted with the Opteron and Athlon 64 processor.
  • Xeon - Xeon (pronounced ZEE-ahn) is a 400 MHz Pentium microprocessor from Intel for use in "mid-range" enterprise servers and workstations.
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  • DOS (disk operating system)

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  • private key

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    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

  • VRAM (video RAM)

    VRAM (video RAM) refers to any type of random access memory (RAM) specifically used to store image data for a computer display.

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