Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » M »

microprocessor

A silicon chip that contains a CPU. In the world of personal computers, the terms microprocessor and CPU are used interchangeably. At the heart of all personal computers and most workstations sits a microprocessor. Microprocessors also control the logic of almost all digital devices, from clock radios to fuel-injection systemsfor automobiles.

Three basic characteristics differentiate microprocessors:

  • Instruction set: The set of instructions that the microprocessor can execute.
  • bandwidth : The number of bitsprocessed in a single instruction.
  • clock speed : Given in megahertz (MHz), the clock speed determines how many instructions per second the processor can execute.
  • In both cases, the higher the value, the more powerful the CPU. For example, a 32-bit microprocessor that runsat 50MHz is more powerful than a 16-bit microprocessor that runs at 25MHz.

    In addition to bandwidth and clock speed, microprocessors are classified as being either RISC (reduced instruction set computer) or CISC(complex instruction set computer).

    See the Microprocessor Comparison Chart page in the Quick Referencesection of Webopedia for a comparison of microprocessors.







    TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
    LATEST ARTICLES
    8 Agenda Apps to Help Students Stay Organized

    Webopedia's student apps roundup will help you to better organize your class schedule and stay on top of assignments and homework. Read More »

    List of Free Shorten URL Services

    A URL shortener is a way to make a long Web address shorter. Try this list of free services. Read More »

    Top 10 Tech Terms of 2015

    The most popular Webopedia definitions of 2015. Read More »

    STUDY GUIDES
    Java Basics, Part 1

    Java is a high-level programming language. This guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of syntax, variables, data types and... Read More »

    Java Basics, Part 2

    This second Study Guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of operators, modifiers and control Structures. Read More »

    The 7 Layers of the OSI Model

    The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »