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.

    Vangie Beal
    Vangie Beal
    Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

    Related Articles

    DocuSign

    What is DocuSign? DocuSign is an agreement management application that enables businesses to create, send, and automate a wide variety of forms and contracts and...

    Compliance

    What is compliance? Compliance or regulatory compliance is a term used across industries to describe rules and policies that prohibit or regulate specific products, services,...

    User Experience

    User experience describes a user's interaction with products, systems, and services and includes usability, design, navigation, and impression.

    Management Information Systems (MIS)

    What is a Management Information System? A Management Information System (MIS) is an information system that provides managers with the tools to effectively organize, evaluate,...

    Venture Capital

    Venture capital (VC) offers startups and developing businesses growth opportunities with funding from...

    Third-Party Apps

    A third-party application is an application provided by a vendor other than the...

    Ernst & Young (EY)

    Ernst & Young Global Limited, commonly known as EY, is a multinational professional...