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CUT5 2.4

Computers: Understanding Tech 5e 2.4

TermDefinition
central processing unit (CPU) The device responsible for performing all the calculations for the computer system. Also called microprocessor or processor.
semiconductor material A material that is neither a good conductor of electricity (like copper would be) nor a good insulator against electricity (like rubber would be); used for the internal circuits in CPUs and memory.
machine cycle A cycle consisting of the four basic operations performed by the internal components of a CPU: fetching an instruction, decoding the instruction, executing the instruction, and storing the result.
control unit The part of a CPU that directs and coordinates the overall operation of the CPU; the control unit interprets instructions and initiates the action needed to carry them out.
arithmetic logic unit (ALU) The part of a CPU that executes the instruction during the machine cycle; the ALU carries out the instructions and performs arithmetic and logical operations on the data.
register An area inside of a CPU that functions as a “workbench,” holding the data that the ALU is processing.
cache A pool of extremely fast memory that’s stored close to the CPU and connected to it by a very fast pathway; types include the L1, L2, and L3 caches.
on die cache A cache that is stamped in the same piece of silicon wafer as the CPU, at the same time; an example is the L1 cache, which is quite small, so it can’t hold everything the CPU has recently used or may need to use soon.
system clock A small oscillator crystal that synchronizes the timing of all operations on the motherboard. Also called system crystal.
word size The number of bits that a computer can manipulate or process as a unit; for example, a 32-bit CPU can handle 32-bit blocks of data at a time.
pipelining A processing technique that enables the CPU to begin executing another instruction as soon as the previous one reaches the next phase of the machine cycle.
thread A part of a program that can execute independently of other parts.
parallel processing A processing technique that allows two or more processors (or cores within a single processor) in the same computer to work on different threads simultaneously.
superscalar architecture A type of CPU design that enables the operating system to send instruction to multiple components inside the CPU during a single clock cycle.
multithreading A processing technique that enables the operating system to address two or more virtual cores in a single-core CPU and share the workload between them.
hyper-threading Intel’s version of multithreading. See also multithreading.
core A set of the essential processor components (that is, the ALU, registers, and control unit) within a CPU; a single CPU may have multiple cores.
multicore processor A CPU that can process several instructions at once, as if the system physically contains more than one CPU, because it contains multiple cores.
Created by: softcrylic