When we look at any web page when shopping for a processor or specification for a particular computer, a series of abbreviations and names appear, which only add to the confusion if we don’t have previous experience buying these products. Don’t worry and don’t worry about it. Who wrote what you are reading now has no idea about mechanics and does not know the difference between a diesel and a gasoline engine. Seriously, I’m not exaggerating, so in this sense, I sympathize with those users who get a blank expression when they see the characteristics of the processor.
What is the number of processor cores?
A the processor core is actually a processor, since today we have several of them on one chip. What’s happened? Since we still physically have one chip where all the cores meet, it’s strange for us to call it processors or central processing units, so we use this name in the singular. So when we talk about an 8-core processor, we really mean 8 processors on a chip that work together.
Previously, only one core was used and performance was achieved by increasing the processor clock frequency, but it got to the point that it was impossible to do this to increase performance, and more than one core was used to increase performance. Of course, we must understand each core as a separate worker that works together with the rest, so the more cores, the more powerful our processor, but also more expensive.
What does CPU multithreading mean?
A thread of execution is nothing more than a program that the processor needs to execute, that is, a sequence of instructions that tell it what to do. This is something that in an ideal world would not cause problems, but the reality is quite different, and there are times when for A or B the program suddenly stops running for a while due to the lack of necessary information. This causes a temporary halt in the CPU and reduces its performance. These stops are colloquially referred to as bubbles.
The idea behind multithreading is to allow the processor to execute another program or thread of execution while it is waiting for the first process. That is, during periods of so-called bubbles, the CPU itself does nothing and thereby increases performance. It is that it actually becomes a second core, which is achieved by duplicating a significant part of the processor circuitry. Essentially a control unit, but not a full-fledged second core. In other words, a 16-core processor but with one thread of execution will be much more powerful than an 8-core processor with 16 threads of execution.
What is the base clock frequency?
This is the time it takes for all processor components to perform a basic operation. Suppose we live in a reality in which each of us can only make one movement to the beat of a constant signal at the same speed. In other words, we are in the middle of a child’s game in which we can only move every time the clap is heard. Well, the internals of a processor work exactly the same way. Therefore, for all the workers in our factory, not everyone will have their own working rhythm, but each of them will go to the rhythm indicated by him.
Today clock frequency is measured in GHz, which is the same as saying a billion Hz. And why is time not used? Well, for marketing reasons, and this is nothing but the speed that a person understands that a 4 GHz processor is more powerful than a 3.8 GHz processor. On the other hand, the value in time would be less and this would cause confusion for the end user. On the other hand, when we talk about base clock speed, we mean the frequency at which they run most of the time, since the processor can vary it depending on its workload.
What is Boost or Turbo Clock Speed?
Some new processors have Boost or turbo speed, this is the second clock speed that the processor can reach and is much faster. However, this consumes more and heats up the chip more, so it can only sustain it for a very short period of time before returning to its original speed. This is usually activated at certain times when the CPU has a lot of work to get rid of it quickly.
What is a processor socket?
He processor socket This is the space where the processor plugs in, that is, the place where it connects to the motherboard and gives it all the connections, both to power itself from the power supply, and to connect with the rest of the computer’s components. That is, it is used to communicate the processor with the video card, RAM, the drive we have, whether it be an SSD or a hard drive, as well as with peripherals.
However, the socket is not universal, and not only each generation of processors, but each brand has its own socket. This means that if you buy a processor, you can only use it on motherboards with that socket. In other words, every sheep is with its partner, and if you are considering a computer piece by piece, you should choose a motherboard that is compatible with your chosen processor. The same does not happen with laptops, where the processor is directly soldered to the board without a socket in the middle. Of course, no one sells a laptop in parts, but sells it as a whole.
What processor is in the PC?
Processor or CPU, abbreviations that correspond to the central processing unit in English, is the most important chip that we can find inside our computer or PC. Its job is to run programs and manage user interaction with them. It is called a processor because it is responsible for processing the instructions of programs written in binary form and, therefore, with values 0 and 1, and gives us the ability to see all those applications that we can interact with when using a computer. .
Today it is an extremely complex engineering structure, since consists of billions of basic structures that are transistors. Also, since much smaller transistors can be made from time to time, they are getting better and better as they have not only increased in complexity. All this made it possible to integrate parts that were previously outside of it, such as the memory controller. Let’s not forget that the processor of the early 80s consisted of less than 100,000 transistors, today and 40 years from now we have processors with a complexity of 10,000,000,000 transistors.
So today processor is very complexThat’s why, so that you can understand it much better, we’re going to go to the most basic, which is common to all processors, from the simplest ones released in the mid-70s to the ones you use. today on the most powerful gaming PC.
Basic Anatomy of a CPU
The first thing we need to keep in mind is that the processor is a machine, and therefore it does recursive work, which we call an instruction cycle. To keep it simple for the reader, we are going to leave it to a simple description of it:
- The processor receives the command. (bring)
- The instructions have been deciphered. (Transcription)
- The already decoded instruction is resolved and the result is returned. (Fulfill)
- Back to step 1
This happens recursively on all processors that have been running since the first one was created until the one that recently failed at the time you are reading this. However, we believe that shortening the explanation to this point will not help to know what a processor is, so we will give a brief overview of the various components that make it up.
We must keep in mind that any processor cannot function without the appropriate RAM, which is another component of the computer and is usually located on a separate chip. So, the first component that we need to build our computer is external memory interfacea which allows you to access and execute the stored binary.
Since RAM is organized in an ordered way, we need a part that tells our processor where the next instruction is to be executed, this is called program counter. This is important because programs are not just sequential, but have what we call jumps, where, under a given condition, the processor must jump from where it reads from memory.
With the elements described in the previous section, we can capture instructions to be executed from RAM, but they are encoded in a special way, and we mean not only the fact that the information is encoded in binary, but also its interpretation. Two people may know the same alphabet, such as French and German, but they can understand the letters, but they cannot read the language the other is writing. Well then, let’s name the language or dialect of each processor family ISA or Instruction and Register Set.
So, we need a device that can decode this instruction, which is called in a very unoriginal way decoder and lets the processor know which instruction to execute. Once it knows it, it only needs to send it to the execution unit corresponding to the instruction type so that it can resolve it, which will be processed control room.
Historically, in many books on computer architecture, execution units were called ALUs, but ALU is only one type of execution unit, and there are many different types of ALUs, below we will describe them one by one:
- Load/save unit of measure: the module responsible for managing memory access instructions to either receive data (read) or modify data (write).
- Branch: It is the block that is responsible for managing jumps in the code, so its main task is to modify the value that the program counter stores.
- ALU: responsible for performing mathematical calculations, there are many types. From one that works with integers or decimals to one that can execute the same instruction on several different numbers at the same time. We call the last units SIMD.
Memory inside the processor
Inside the processor, we have a number of memories that serve to temporarily store data. This will prevent various devices from accessing the RAM, because if it does, the system RAM will be overwhelmed by the number of requests it has to execute and will completely slow down the CPU.
The processor has two types of internal memory:
- Cache: its job is to store some of the RAM so the processor can access the code for faster execution.
- Entries: These are very small amounts of memory that are used by various components of the processor to perform the recursive tasks that we have discussed in this article.
That’s all, with this you can already understand the basics to know how your system’s processor works.