6.1. Terminology

Like other fields, the computer industry has spawned its own special terminology. Knowing some of this terminology is essential to understanding how the design of the computer hardware may affect system performance.

6.1.1. Central Processing Unit

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) or processor is the component within the computer that performs all of the main processing or calculation. A processor consists of one or more chips; there may be anywhere from one to several hundred processors in a computer system. Systems that contain more than one processor are said to be multi-processor systems. Processors execute a series of instructions to perform computations. Groups of instructions are combined to form applications or programs ...

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