microprocessor (or processor) also called as brain of computer system. It is an electronic component which controls the working of all the hardware and software. A processor responsible for performing arithmetical, input/output (I/O), logical and other basic instructions . It perform execution of  software commands and performs calculation functions.

Block Diagram of a Basic Microprocessor


Basically microprocessor do follows a sequence which is Fetch, Decode, and then Execute.

The microprocessor fetches instructions from the memory, then decodes it and executes it, then it sends the result  to the output unit.

Some terminology used in a Microprocessor

Instruction Set : It is the set of instructions that the microprocessor fetches and execute.

Bandwidth : It is the amount of bits(data) processed in a single instruction in a fixed amount of time.

Clock Speed : It is the number of operations per second .It is also known as Clock Rate. It is expressed in megahertz (MHz) or gigahertz (GHz).

Features of a Microprocessor

Cost-effective: The microprocessor chips are available at low prices .

Size: It is of small size chip.

Low Power Consumption: Microprocessors use metal-oxide semiconductor technology, which is low power consumption.

Reliability: It is reliable as the failure rate of microprocessor chips is very low.

Computer processor types

A microprocessor can be classified into three categories:


RISC Processor
RISC stands for Reduced Instruction Set Computer. RISC Processor has a limited number of instructions, because of simple and small instruction it execute it very fastly .

CISC Processor
CISC stands for Complex Instruction Set Computer. CISC processor can perform multi-step operations. It contains large number of complex instructions.

Special Processors
Now some special purpose processor is as follow,

A coprocessor is a processor which works side-by-side with the main processor , its used to supplement the processing power of a microprocessor many times its faster than the ordinary microprocessor.
Example : Math coprocessor performs mathematical computations.

Input/Output Processor
This microprocessor have a local memory of its own, which is used to handle only input output processes for a computer.
Example :
Keyboard/mouse controller
DMA (direct Memory Access) controller

Transputer (Transistor Computer)

A transputer is a first general purpose microprocessor which used in parallel computing systems.Its name is a concatenation of transistor and computer.

DSP (Digital Signal Processor)
This processor  process the analog signals into a digital form.  Analog to Digital Converters (ADC) and Digital to Analog Converters (DAC) are essential components of DSP.

intel processor history

Intel 4004 was a 4-bit processor which had a speed of 740 kHz.
In 1976, the 16-bit 8086 processor were introduce with speed of 5 MHz.
In 1993, the Pentium processor was introdce which has a speed of 60 MHz.

Then Pentium II which has a speed of 233 MHz and the Pentium III which has a speed of 450 MHz, and
Pentium 4 which has a speed of 1.3 GHz.

Then Celeron processor, which has a speed of 266 MHz.
In 2003, Intel inaugurated the Pentium M.
The Pentium M is slower, at 900 MHz, so that energy consumption is reduced and the battery of the laptop lasts longer.
In 2006, Intel introduced the Core processor which has a speed of 1.6 GHz. It has more than one core, like in the case of Core Duo (which has two cores) and has virtualization capability which allows multiple copies of an operating system to be run on the same computer.

Processor : Intel Core i3
Production : 2010–present
Clock Rate : 1.2 GHz – 3.7 GHz
Number of Cores : 2 /w hyperthreading
L1 Cache : 64 KiB per core
L2 Cache : 256 KiB
L3 Cache : 3 MiB – 4 MiB

Processor : Intel Core i5
Production : 2009–present
Clock Rate : 1.06 GHz – 4.2 GHz
Number of Cores : 2 /w hyperthreading, 4
L1 Cache : 64 KiB per core
L2 Cache : 256 KiB
L3 Cache : 4 MiB – 8 MiB

Processor : Intel Core i7
Production : 2011–present
Clock Rate : 1.6 GHz – 4.4 GHz
Number of Cores : 4, 4 /w hyperthreading, 8
L1 Cache : 64 KiB per core
L2 Cache : 4×256 KiB
L3 Cache : 6 MiB – 10 MiB

Processor : Intel Core i9
Production : 2018-present
Clock Rate : 3.0 Ghz – 4.0 Ghz
Number of Cores : 6 – 8
L1 Cache : 512 KiB
L2 Cache : 2 MiB
L3 Cache : 16 MiB

While Intel is the leading company in the manufacturing of processors, there are other companies such as AMD that make processors too. In 1991, AMD had brought out the Am386 processor and its speed is 40 MHz. It is compatible with the Intel 386 processor.

In 1999, AMD introduced the Athlon processor which has a speed of 500 MHz. Athlon was a legitimate competitor to Intel Pentium III because it was faster. As a matter of fact, AMD Athlon was the first processor to reach the speed of 1 GHz.

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