The Processor Step By Step

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By: David Westgrove | Posted: Jun 05, 2013

The processor is perhaps the most important component of any computer. It is the component which performs all of the mathematical and logical functions, and thus does all of the actual “computing” of the system. It’s helpful to think of your computer’s processor as the brain of your system, and without the processor, a computer is nothing more than an expensive paperweight. If you’re considering a processor for your current computer system, you will want a powerful model which will meet and exceed your current processing needs.

Processor Basics

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As I stated before, think of the processor as the brain of your computer. As your computer needs to execute a process, that process is directed toward the CPU where instructions are executed, line by line, with bits of data being fed and evaluated. Thus, the more functions performed for a single program, for instance, the more time that program will take to be returned results. There are two primary factors which can determine the efficiency of a computer processor. The first factor is the core count. The higher a core count is within a single processor, the more efficiently a processor can take on multiple processes. This allows for simultaneously executed instructions. The second factor which is important is the clock speed. Clock speed measures the frequency at which a processor can execute commands. This speed is measured in Gigahertz. The higher a clock speed, the higher the frequency at which a processor can execute commands.

Current Processors

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Current processors are tending towards a high core count and a high clock speed, though specs will continue to improve in the near future. Currently, in average user markets, the leading manufacturers of processors are AMD and Intel. Intel’s Core iSeries processors are among the best sellers, with AMD’s FX Series processors following close behind. Dual cores are being phased out in favor of quad and hexacore models, though dual core processing remains a very popular solution in business computers.

How To Install a Processor

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If you aim to attempt a processor installation in your own computer system, you will need to take proper safety precautions beforehand. Ensure that your system is unplugged and that you have discharged any static (an anti static wrist band is a common tool for such measures) before you open your computer case. Make certain that your processor is compatible with your motherboard’s chipset before continuing (a 39R9240 Operon would be incompatible with an Intel chipset, for instance). Locate the socket on the motherboard and remove the cover, usually held in place by a metal bar. Line up the processor’s arrow corner with that seen atop the socket cover and place the processor gently into the socket. Replace the socket cover and power the system on; you should be good to go! Hopefully this cursory examination of processor function, trends, and installation has helped you get a firmer grasp on one of the most important pieces of computer hardware.

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