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Windows 2000 Performance Guide by Odysseas Pentakalos, Mark Friedman

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Chapter 3. Processor Performance

At the heart of any computer is a Central Processing Unit (CPU), or simply the processor for short. The processor is the hardware component responsible for computation: a machine that executes arithmetic and logical instructions presented to it in the form of computer programs. In this chapter we look at several important aspects of processor performance in a Windows 2000 system.

The processor hardware is capable of executing one set of instructions at a time, yet computers are loaded with programs that require execution concurrently. Generally, there are two types of programs that computers execute: systems programs and applications programs. An operating system like Windows 2000 is a systems program. It is a set of computer instructions like any program, but it is designed to interface directly with the computer hardware. The operating system, in particular, is responsible for controlling the hardware: the CPU, memory, network interface, and associated peripheral devices. The operating system is also responsible for determining what other programs actually get to run on the computer system. There is a very strong performance component to this aspect of operating systems software. The Windows 2000 designers are trying to make the experience of using their computing platform as pleasant as possible. This includes running applications fast and efficiently.

Like other operating systems, Windows 2000 includes a Scheduler component that controls what ...

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