Electrical Characteristics

At its heart, a microprocessor is an electronic device. This electronic foundation has important ramifications in the construction and operation of chips. The “free lunch” principle (that is, there is none) tells us that every operation has its cost. Even the quick electronic thinking of a microprocessor takes a toll. The thinking involves the switching of the state of tiny transistors, and each state change consumes a bit of electrical power, which gets converted to heat. The transistors are so small that the process generates a minuscule amount of heat, but with millions of them in a single chip, the heat adds up. Modern microprocessors generate so much heat that keeping them cool is a major concern in their design. ...

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