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The processor is the brain of the computer. “A processor built on a single LSI, VLSI or ULSI  chip is called a micro processor.” Sometimes referred to simply as the processor or central processor, the CPU is where most calculations take place. In terms of computing power, the CPU is the most important element of a computer system.



Evolution of the Pentium 4
As was mentioned earlier, the older P6 architecture was released back in 1995. Up to 2002, the Pentium III processors were sold alongside the Pentium 4. That means, in practise, that Intel’s sixth CPU generation has lasted 7 years. 

The Pentium processor could be viewed as two 80486’s built into one chip.

The four big changes seen in the Pentium 4

Dual Processor
  • A computer that contains two CPUs. Dual processor systems (DP systems) have two independent CPU chips and differ from a dual core system (DC system), which has two processors built into the same CPU chip.
  • Not all operating systems or programs (for example Word) are able to support dual processors.


  • A quad processor system is any system with 4 CPUs working in parallel. Typically, all 4 CPUs are of the same type.
  • Quad processor systems are uncommon for home computer users.

The Pentium II was subjected to a lot of overclocking. It was found that many of Intel’s CPU’s could be clocked at a higher factor than they were designed for. If you had a 233 MHz Pentium II, you could set up the motherboard to, for example, run at 4.5 x 66 MHz, so that the processor ran at 300 MHz. I tried it myself for a while, it worked well. At a factor of 5 it didn’t work, but at factor of 4.5 it functioned superbly.

Socket 775 with protective cover on


Processor Clock Speed : Every processor has its own built-in clock, this clock dictates how fast the processor can process the data (0's and 1's), you will see processors advertised as having a speed of say 2GHz, this measurement refers to the internal clock.

If a processor is advertised as having a speed of 2GHz this means that it can process data internally 2 billion times a second (every clock cycle), so if the processor is a 32-bit processor running at 2GHz then it can potentially process 32 bits of data simultaneously, 2 billion times a second !!

Hertz, Megahertz, Gigahertz :
  • Hertz - Commonly abbreviated as Hz, hertz equals one cycle per second, measuring the waves or frequencies of electric changes each second. Hertz is commonly used to measure a computer monitor’s refresh rate and computer processors.
  • Megahertz (MHz) - One MHz represents one million cycles per second.
  • Gigahertz (GHz) - One thousand million hertz (1,000,000,000 Hz).
FRONT SIDE BUS : The front side bus transfers data between the processor and the computer's other components such as memory, hard drives, etc. The FSB will have a certain width (measured in bits) which dictates how many bits can be transferred at any one time, and as the 533MHz and 800MHz figures suggest the FSB also has a clock cycle frequency indicating how fast the data can be transferred.


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