Chapter 5 - Understanding Processors

2023-03-16 1116 words 6 mins read

Chapter 5 - Understanding Processors.

This article is Chapter 5 in the CompTIA A+ certification course on that teaches you an Understanding of Computer Processors.

Understanding Processors


I’ts important to be familiar with procsssors and their related terminoligy. These indclude:

• Processor speeds

  • Determine how fast the processor executes instruction or commands.
  • Typically measured in Gigahertz or Megahertz.
  • The faster your processor is, the faster your system is.
  • Megahertz - Billions of hertz
  • Gigahertz - Billions times per second

• Data bus

  • The pathway between data and memory.
  • The processor is acessing information consitantly, the data bus is dedicated full time to this operation.

• Registers

  • Provide storage to processors to temporarily store data and information, to be manipulated at a later time.
  • Stores data inside processor instead of memory so it can be retrived much faster.

• Cache memory

  • Provides faster memory retrival, by storing memory in cache memory in case it needs to be acessed at a later time or a second time.

• Math processors

  • Are used to perform and execute mathmatical functions, so the CPU can focus on logic functions.
  • NPU performs mathmatical calculations.
  • CPU performs logical calculations.
  • GPU performs video calculations

• Hyperthreading

  • Describes the technology of allowing the processor to act as 2 diffrent processors, which are able to execute symoultanious threads.
  • A thread is part of an application that executes a task such as, accepting a key stroke and performing a word count in a document. So two diffrent types of activities are happeing at the same time as you type in the document.
  • One thread counts the words.
  • The other imnputs the key strokes.

• Multi Core Processing

  • Combines independant proceesor chips into a single processing chip, which is able to execute multiple threads at the same time, without using hyperthreading, because there are multiple processors in one chip.
  • This is a benefit to the motherboard as it requires less power using a dual core or multi core processors.
  • These types of processors are improving every day, and greatly enhance performance of computers.

Data Bus

  • When storing information into system memory, the processor provides a location address with the information that is stored.

  • In this example, the data would be stored in location D4

• Data Bus

  • Pathway between processors and memory
  • Transfer data in form of bits.
  • Every data bus has a maximum capacity of bits it can hold.
  • This is why 32 bit and 64 bit are offered.
  • 32 bit processor must make two trips to provide 64 bits of information.
  • This trip back and forth is called a cycle clock.
  • The less trips a computer needs to make, the more increased efficency it has.

• Address Bus

  • Uses a read/write system which is refrenced by location.

  • When storing information into the system memory, the processor provides a location address with the information that is stored at that location.

  • All information has a praticular storage location and address.

  • The processor acesses these memory locations through the address bus.

  • The address lines are used to carry signals to specific calls and locatiuons refrenced by diagram above.



Used to describe the layout and functionality of computer, includes things such as: Registers, Cache memory, Virtualization, GPU, CPU, NPU, and many of the control speeds.

• Registers - are storage areas within the processor used for temporarily storing data for future manipulation.

• Cache memory - is information stored in the processors high-speed memory for faster access.

  • High-speed memory helps to facilitate the process of the memory controler, retrieving data in the memory, and delivering it the the processor.
  • High-speed memory can be refered to as Cache Memory
  • Cache memory allows processor to retrive info much more quickly because it resides in the system memory, rather than waiting for information retrieval.

• Virtualization - Newer form of technology that allows you to run multiple virtual machines with separate operating systems and virtual resources on a single computer.

  • The processor must be able to support virtualization, and also be enabled to the syestem BIOS.

• Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) - provides video calculations and processing of graphic applications.

  • GPU uses RAM as it’s memory.
  • For example, if you have 32GB of RAM and GPU is integrated, the GPU will be using some of that RAM. If you use a dedicated GPU, it will have it’s own memory on the memory card.

You will research many ways to get the best archetecture for your customer.

• Throttling - the CPU reduces processing speed when it senses overheating.

  • Processors have built in thermal sensors that can monitor tempeture of the processor, and enable throttling when nessisary.
  • An example would be when a built in fan fails.

• Overclocking - causing a piece of hardware to run faster than the rated speed.

  • Popular for video adaptors and processors.
  • Not reccomended because it can cause unstable system hardware failures.

Chip Packaging


How a computer chip is constructed, delivered to customer and used in a computer. There are a varitey of circuit packages or circuit types you can use.

• Shape and form

  • The chip package definesthe form and apperence of chip.
  • The chip carrier includes a rectanglar package with contacts on all four sides.

• Dual in-line package (DIP) chip

DIP Chip.
  • a regular chip with 2 rows of 20 pins
  • On DIP Chip, pin 1 is located at the end of chip and has a square notch.
  • When you add a chip to mother board you must match pin one up with pin 1 on the chip socket.

• Pin grid array (PGA) chip

PGA Chip.
  • Most popular chip and contains hundreds of pins.
  • On PGA Chip one of the corners is cut off, and this is the location of pin 1.

• Land grid array (LGA) chip

LGA Chip.
  • Rectangular chip, a package chip that has contacts instead of pins on the bottom of chip.

  • These contacts contain the LGA socket to the motherboard.

• Single edge contact (SEC) chip

SEC Chip.
  • Has a cartridge shape base, or card that is inserted into motherboard, which is inserted into a slot and not a socket

Processor Sockets

Processor Sockets.

• Socket types are identified by:

  • Socket number
  • Type of processor
  • Number of pins

• Compatibility

  • A process or a socket is designed to hold a specific processor chip with a certain amount of pins.
  • A chip will not fit into an incorrect socket

• Deterrnine what sockets exist

  • Research through maufactuer.
  • There are multitudes of sockets such as: 1 through 8, 370, 423, 478, socket A, and socket F.
  • Important to research which socket dependant on the unit you are working on.

• Purchase a the CPU socket • Match the voltage of the board • Sockets are labeled by type along the side of the socket


Authored By Is-Rael Landes

Is-Rael Landes, a good man living on the earth, loving making website, teaching others and coding.

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