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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Computer CPU Components

A computer's CPU (central processing unit) has many components. Over time, CPUs become faster; process more instructions; handle more complex functions, such as audio and video files; and use less power. Furthermore, the CPU has evolved to work with more hardware devices. The CPU works with memory chips, the hard drives, graphics, audio, network cards, and new input/output mechanisms.

Execution Core
One way of describing a processor is to determine how many execution cores are in the chip. Some advanced chips today have up to four execution cores. The instructions are not in one location, but spread over the eight cores for processing and execution.

Cache Memory
Cache memory, or buffer memory, is memory in the CPU that reduces waiting time for information stored in the RAM (Random Access Memory). Retrieving data from cache is faster than retrieving data from RAM. There are three kinds of Memory Cache. Level 1 Cache (L1) is integrated memory into the processor. Level 2 cache (L2) is in the case along with the CPU (in the chip). Level 3 cache (L3) is on the motherboard. The fastest is L1.

Processor Functional Units
The processor contains a group of inter-related control units. CPUs contain different units. They are the control or instruction unit, the execution unit, and the bus management units. A control unit takes the incoming data, decodes it, and then sends it over to the execution unit for processing. The control unit has a sequencer which synchronizes the instruction execution with the clock speed. The execution unit works on tasks assigned by the instruction unit. It contains the arithmetic and logic unit (ALU), which performs math and logic operations. The floating point unit (FPU) performs those math calculations which cannot be accomplished by the arithmetic and logic unit.


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