Processors – Everything You Need to Know

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Our digital devices like Phones, Computers and laptops have grown to become so sophisticated, that they are no longer just devices, they have evolved to become a part of us.

They perform many tasks with the help of apps and software, But have we ever thought to wonder what powers these software? How do they perform their logic? Where is their brain?

We already know that a CPU or Processor is the brain of any device that must process data or perform logical tasks.

intel processors

But what are the different concepts behind Processors? How are they evaluated? How are some processors faster than the others? And many such questions. So let’s have a look at some major terms involved with processors and see how they affect processing speed.

Architecture

Processors come in different architectures, you must have come across different types of programs that say they are for 64Bit or 32Bit. What this means is that those programs support that particular processor architecture.

If a processor has a 32 Bit Architecture it means that it can process 32 Bits of information in one processing cycle.

Similarly, a 64 Bit processor will process 64 Bits in one cycle.

Also, The amount of ram you can use also depends on the architecture. The amount of ram you can use depends upon the amount of memory in powers of 2 ^ architecture of the system.

For a processor with 16-bit architecture, only 64 KB of ram is accessible. For a  32 Bit processor, the maximum usable ram is 4 GB. And for 64 Bit processor, it is 16 Exa-Byte.

Cores

Cores are basically processing units in the computer. They receive instructions and act on it. The more Cores you have, the better your processing speed.

Imagine it like workers in a factory, The more workers you have the faster you will be able to do work.

But more workers will require more salary and there will be a little crowd in the factory. processorsSimilarly, having more cores will definitely boost up processing but more cores need more power and they also heat the CPU a little more than those with fewer cores.

Clocking Speed

We often hear that a processor is of 1 GHz or  2 GHz or 3 GHz. So what are these GHz?

cpu speed

GHz is short for GigaHertz. Giga means ‘Billion’ and Hertz means ‘one cycle per second’. So a processor of 2 GHz can perform 2 Billion cycles in one second.

This is also known as ‘frequency’ or ‘Clocking Speed’ of your processor. The higher the number the better it is for your CPU.

CPU Cache

CPU cache is a small memory unit inside the processor that stores some memory. Whenever we have to perform some task. Data needs to pass from the RAM to the CPU. Since the CPU works a lot faster than the RAM, most of the time the CPU is idle and waiting for data from the RAM. To solve this the RAM keeps sending data to the CPU Cache continuously.

You usually get 2-3 Mb of CPU cache in most Mid – Range processors. And up to 6 in high-end ones. The more cache your processor has, the better it is.

Lithography

The size of transistors used is the lithographic size of a processor. It is usually measured in NanoMeter and the lesser it is, the more compact your processor will be. This will allow for more cores to fit into the same slot and reduce power consumption.

The latest Intel processors have a lithograph of 14 Nm.

Thermal Design Power (TDP)

It represents the average power, in watts, the processor dissipates when operating at Base Frequency with all cores active under an Intel-defined, high-complexity workload.

So the lower it is, the better for you. A lower TDP not only uses better power but it also generates less heat.

battery cpu

Desktop processors usually consume more energy and have a TDP in the range of above 40, Whereas their counterparts Mobile versions consume up to 3 times less energy.

Memory Support(RAM)

I had already mentioned that how processor architecture affects the amount of RAM we can use. But that only holds true for theory. In practical application,  the amount of ram you can use is usually enough for that specification of a processor. It is usually specified in the processors’ specs.
RAM

It also mentions the DDR version number of memory supported.

Overclocking

So I already spoke about clocking speed. Now overclocking is the process of forcing your CPU to perform more cycles.

Gamers usually overclock their processors to get more juice out of their CPU. This surely increases speed but it also increases power consumption and heat generation.

A lot of High-End Processors allow overclocking. But if we wish to overclock an unsupported Processor, we will have to manually install a new BIOS for our motherboard and do it.

This may get the job done but it is neither safe nor suggested doing so.

Hyper-Threading

When adding cores was not convenient to suite a particular processing need, Hyper-Threading was invented to create virtual cores.

So when we say that a dual-core processor has Hyper-Threading, it has 2 physical cores and 2 virtual cores. So it is technically a Quad-core processor in the body of a dual-core one.

Conclusion

A processor has many variables associated with it. And it is the most important part of any digital device. So it is very important that before selecting a device we carefully examine the specifications of its processor keeping all the above variables in mind.

Variables like Clock-Speed, Cores, CPU cache and architecture should be maximum. While it is better that variables like TDP and lithography stay as low as possible.

Still confused about something? Feel free to comment and I will try to reply asap.

6 thoughts on “Processors – Everything You Need to Know”

  1. Tarus says:

    Nicely put; These very concise explanations provide a great platform for anyone irregardless of their IT niche. We certainly appreciate it!

    1. Rishabh Kandari says:

      Thank you Tarus. I Will try to write more articles like these.

  2. Charles Darwin says:

    “they have evolved to become a part of us.”

    Do you deny that intelligent design by humans was involved at every stage of their creation and development?

    1. Rishabh Kandari says:

      Hahhah !! Nice one .

  3. Say NO to Monopolies says:

    A helpful article with the shortcoming that the article promotes Intel CPUs with the photograph of the Intel CPU, and the description of Hyper-Threading which is Intel’s proprietary simultaneous multithreading (SMT) technology, and makes no mention of other brands of CPU which are available.

    An even-handed article would have mentioned AMD in addition, and even nVidia and other ARM based CPUs, and, of more technical interest, described how ARM CPU architecture significantly differs from that of Intel and AMD.

    1. Rishabh Kandari says:

      Hi !, Yeah the article focuses on Intel, since non-techy people use it mostly. They find it easier to relate and understand.
      But i will definitely work on an article that throws on some light between Intel and AMD.

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