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Microprocessor

Microprocessor

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Published by natturaju

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Published by: natturaju on Oct 13, 2009
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09/19/2010

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Microprocessor 
The microprocessor, (or CPU), is the brain of the computer. The pictureabove shows a slot 1 processor with heatsinks and a fan, which prevent itfrom overheating. Below is the processor without the heatsinks and fan,being inserted into a slot 1 motherboard connection. Slot 1 processorshave the microprocessor and level 2 cache memory mounted on a circuitboard, (or card), which is enclosed inside of a protective shell.The enclosed slot 1 processor card contains the central processing unit,(or CPU), with its level 1 cache memory. The central processing unit also
 
contains the control unit and the arithmetic/logic unit, both workingtogether as a team to process the computer's commands. The control unitcontrols the flow of events inside the processor. It fetches instructionsfrom memory and decodes them into commands that the computer canunderstand. The arithmetic/logic unit handles all of the math calculationsand logical comparisons. It takes the commands from the control unit andexecutes them, storing the results back into memory. These 4 steps,(fetch, decode, execute, and store), are what's called the "machine cycle"of a computer. These 4 basic steps are how the computer runs each andevery program. The microprocessor's level 1 cache memory, is memorythat is contained within the CPU itself. It stores the most frequentlyused instructions and data. The CPU can access the cache memory muchfaster than having to access the RAM, (or Random Access Memory).Below is a picture of what's inside of a Pentium 3 processor. The controlunit, arithmetic/logic unit, and level 1 cache are contained within thecenter CPU chip. Level 2 cache memory is visible on the right-hand side ofthe processor card.Level 1 cache memory is memory that is included inside of the CPU itself.It is usually smaller and faster than level 2 cache memory. Level 2 cachememory is memory between the RAM and CPU. It is used when the level 1cache memory is full or is too small to hold the intended data. Originally itwas not directly on the CPU chip itself. *Read the update at the bottomof this page.* The photo above shows level 2 cache memory on theprocessor card, beside the CPU. Below are two photos of a CPU. The
 
photo on the bottom is a view of the CPU chip from the outside. Thephoto on the top is a large map of the inside of the CPU, showing thedifferent areas and what their function is. See if you can find the areasthat fetch, decode, and execute the instructions. Can you also find thelevel 1 cache areas that store information? The pipelined floating pointarea, logic areas, and superscalar integer execution units area are part ofwhat? Did you guess the arithmetic/logic unit? If so, you're right!At the top you can also see the clock driver. The clock driver is what

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