As we all know that people are extensively using smartphones, automated systems, high tech laptops and PCs and many other applications. People need faster processing, faster functionality of their device than before. To meet the growing demands industries are looking for processors which are energy-efficient, generate less heat and many more features. This will lead to next- generation of computer processors. Now, let us know about the computer processor.
What is a Computer Processor?
A Computer processor is an electronic circuitry that responds to and carries out the instructions of a computer program that are required to drive a computer. The processor embedded in a device or in a Computer is called microprocessor. That means, the processor’s components are fabricated on a single integrated circuit chip (IC chip). There are four primary functions of a processor and they are fetch, decode, execute and writeback.
The basic components of a processor are:
ALU (Arithmetic and logic unit) which carries out arithmetic and logical operations on the operands in an instruction.
Registers Holds instructions and other data. They supply operands to the ALU and stores the result of operation.
L1 and L2 cache memory. They saves accessing time , i.e., the time required to access data which is repeatedly used in an instruction compared to RAM (random access memory) as we know that time required to access data from the main memory is more.
The central processor of a computer is known as CPU (Central Processing Unit). This processor handles all the basic instructions of system.
The two main processor production industries in the market are Intel and AMD. Most desktop computers have processor of Intel or AMD. Laptops and tablets may use Intel or AMD CPUs. Besides CPU, most desktop computers and laptops also contain GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) which renders graphics that are output on a monitor.
How a Computer Processor works?
Generally, CPU is referred to as computer processor. It is the primary component or brain of the computer. So, we must know how brain of the computer works.
Computer processor is the primary coordinating component of the computer. When the computer’s operating system is executed, the CPU will fetch program, data and other functions from the RAM. The processor will then interpret or decode the instructions that are related to the ordered task before sending back to the computer’s RAM after execution.
The fundamental ability of the computer processor is to process machine language code. There are three basic machine language instructions that CPU can execute:
- Moving data from one location to another in the computer memory.
- Based on logical operation or choices jump to new instruction sets.
- Using ALU perform mathematical calculation.
To carry out these operations the processor uses address bus and data bus. Address bus is used to send addresses to the computer memory and data bus is used to retrieve or send information to the computer memory. Processor has a separate control line which gives notification to the computer memory about whether the memory is getting or sending/setting a given memory location. The processor also has a clock to carry out all of its designed operations, by synchronizing processor’s actions with remainder of the computer. It also uses registers for data manipulation and then the result is send back to the main memory. There are some computer instructions or data that are commonly used, for accessing these instructions caching schemes are implemented in order to gain the accessing rate of data than using direct access to RAM.
Evolution of Computer Processors
The era of the computer processor were started by 1968, when Intel Corporation was founded by Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore. And the Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) was founded on 1st May, 1969.
The first microprocessor, the Intel 4004 was launched on November 15, 1971. It had 2,300 transistors; it was a 4-bit chip. It was having an ability to perform 60,000 operations per second (OPS).
Intel launched Intel 8008 processor on 1st April, 1972.
Intel launched Intel 8080 microprocessor on 1st April, 1974. It was an improvement from 8008 processor which became standard in computer industry.
Intel 8085 and 8086:
Intel launched two processor in 1976, Intel 8085 was launched in the month of March and Intel 8086 on June 8, 1976.
The Intel 8088 was launched on June 1, 1979. It was a 16-bit processor and contained 29,000 transistors. This chip was the first chip to be chosen for the first IBM PC.
Intel Pentium and AMD:
The Intel Pentium was launched on March 22, 1993. It was a 32-bit, 60 MHz processor with 321 million transistors. After two years, AMD launched their AM5 X 86 whose performance was comparable to Pentium processors.
Intel Pentium M:
Intel Pentium M was launched in 2003 and was basically designed for mobile devices. It was integrated with Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 network and consumes less power to allow for longer battery life.
Time line of processor evolution and market availability
In 2001, AMD launched its 1st single-core OPteron processors, with speed 1.4 GHz to 2.4GHz and 1024 KB L2 cache. 1st Athlon 64 processors with speed 2 GHz, 1024KB L2 cache.
In 2005, AMD launched their 1st dual-core processor, the Athlon 64 X2 with speed 2GHz, 512KB L2 cache per core)
In 2006, Intel have introduced Core 2 Duo processor E6320 (4M cache, 1.86 GHz), Intel Core 2 Duo processor E6300 (2M cache, 1.86 GHz) and Intel Core Duo processor for the laptop with Core Duo processor T5500 (2M Cache, 1.67 Ghz).
In 2008, Intel launched 1st Intel Core i7 processor for Desktop, the i7-920, the i7-940 and the i7-965 extreme edition.
Intel launched first core i5 processor for mobile phones, the i5-430M and i5-520E in January 2010. And for Desktop processor, the i5-650 in January 2010. Intel core i3 mobile processor, the i3-330M and 13-350M also in January.
AMD launched 1st Phenom II X6 processor in 2010.
In 2012, AMD launched 1st desktop processor in their A10 line, the A10-5700 and A10-5800K on October 1, 2012.
Latest and Upcoming Computer Processor
As we know that Intel and AMD are the tough competitors of each other, in 2017 and in coming years we can see new high tech processors.
AMD have recently announced its new Ryzen processor and it will be a match for Intel’s high-end desktop processor. Intel is also launching its Kaby Lake series of processors, the successor to the current Skylake line-up.Intel’s Kaby lake architecture power the world’s thinnest convertible laptop. Many Intel’s 7th generation selections also introduce Optane , a memory technology that brings hard drive speeds with SSDs. By late November “Apollo Lake” will be started and the first to implement them will be Asus and HP. Kaby Lake –X , which is a higher end future is expected to be launch in late 2017.
Last year, AMD launched its latest 14nm (nanometer) Ryzen CPUs based on Zen architecture. The fastest among the AMD processors Ryzen 7 1800X would give tough competition to Intel’s Kabylake family. Ryzen 7 1700 is the cheapest Ryzen in the market.
This Article was originally submitted by Ms. Prachi Sinha pursuing B.Tech in Electronics & Communication.