Have you come across the word microprocessor? You might have, or you might have not, in any case, you have a chance to broaden your knowledge of microprocessors. But you have to read through this guide to know what it is and its benefits.
What is Microprocessor?
A Microprocessor is a vital part of a computer design. Without the microprocessor, you will not be able to perform anything on your computer. It is a device that is programmable. It also takes in input performs some arithmetic and logical operations over it and produces the desired output. In simple words, a Microprocessor is a digital device on a chip that can fetch instructions from memory, decode and execute them and give results.
Basics of Microprocessor –
A Microprocessor takes a bunch of instructions in machine language and executes them, telling the processor what it has to do. The microprocessor performs three basic things while executing the instruction:
- It performs some basic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and some logical operations using its Arithmetic and Logical Unit (ALU). New Microprocessors also perform operations on floating-point numbers also.
- Data in microprocessors can move from one location to another.
- It has a Program Counter (PC) register that stores the address of the next instruction based on the value of the PC, Microprocessor jumps from one location to another and takes decisions.
How Does a Microprocessor Work?
A microprocessor receives binary data as input, processes that data, and then delivers an output that is based on the instructions stored in the memory. The data is processed using the microprocessor’s ALU (arithmetical and logical unit), control unit, and a register array. The register array processes the data via a number of registers that act as temporary fast access memory locations. The flow of instructions and data through the system is managed by the control unit.
Evolution of Microprocessor
- First Generation 4-bit Microprocessor
This is the first microprocessor invented by Intel in 1971. They named it Intel 4004 because it was a 4-bit microprocessor
- Second Generation 8-bit Microprocessor
The Second generation processor was an 8-bit microprocessor developed by Intel in the year 1973. It was named Intel 8008 because it was 8-bit.
- Third Generation 16-bit Microprocessor
The third generation microprocessors were 16-bit microprocessors introduced in 1978 by Intel. 80286 is a 3rd generation microprocessor.
- Fourth Generation 32-bit Microprocessor
The Fourth generation microprocessors were introduced in 1985 and they were 32-bit. 80386 or also known as i386 or just 386 is the most renowned 4th generation microprocessor.
- Fifth Generation 64-bit Microprocessor
The fifth-generation microprocessor or 64-bit microprocessors were introduced in 1995 and they are being used till now. The Intel Pentium processors were based on 64-bit architecture. The recent 64-bit microprocessor uses super scaling to offer high speed and high performance such as Intel dual, quad, and octa-core microprocessors.
Types of Microprocessors
There are different types of microprocessors designed to be used for specific purposes. It has evolved to be used in various different applications. They are mainly classified into three major types;
- CISC Microprocessor
CISC is an acronym for complex instruction set computer. This microprocessor is designed to execute complex instructions (a combination of multiple single instructions) which minimize the number of total instructions per program.
A complex instruction has multiple simple instructions like arithmetic operation, storing in memory, reading from memory, etc. The overall length of the program is relatively very small but due to the large size of its instruction set with many addressing modes in a single instruction, it takes multiple machine cycles to execute an instruction. Thus it reduces the execution speed of the microprocessor.
- RISC Microprocessor
RISC stands for Reduced Instruction Set Computer. This type of microprocessor is based on an architecture designed to execute simple instructions. The instructions are simplified to reduce the execution time. The instruction is usually completed in one clock cycle by using pipelining to execute parts of the instruction in parallel. Therefore, it requires program code with more lines and more memory to store instructions. This architecture offers to execute programs efficiently and quickly.
- Superscalar Microprocessors:
Superscalar Microprocessor is able to execute huge tasks at one time without delay because it has to contain multiple pipeline structure. Mainly, this microprocessor is designed for the ALU or other types of multipliers as well.
- ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit):
Stands for “Application Specific Integrated Circuit”. ASIC microprocessor is not designed for general purpose because its motive of development is too specific points such as automotive emissions control or personal digital assistants computer.
- (DSP) Digital Signal Multiprocessors:
DSP is also known as “Digital Signal Multiprocessors”. DSP processor helps to encode/decode the streaming videos as well as transform the digital signals to analog signals & analog signals to digital signals.DSP has superb power to calculate mathematical instructions.
- SIMD Processors:
SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) is also known as an “Array processor”. The prime objective of introducing the SIMD processor is to implement all computations into vector form. SIMD uses various processing elements in parallel form instead of serially. In that architecture, every processor elements have to use a couple of ALUs, and every ALU contains its local memory for storing computational data.
- Symbolic Processors:
Symbolic processor is also known as “LISP processors or PROLOG processors“. Symbolic processors are introduced for use in different fields such as expert systems, machine intelligence, artificial intelligence, and pattern recognition. In Symbolic processor, not need the floating point operations.
- Bit-Slice Processors:
Bit-Slice processor is also known as a building block because all microprocessors are designed for specific word lengths along with building blocks. The building block has to contain the 4-bit ALUs, microprograms sequencers, and carry look-ahead generators.
The transputer microprocessor was developed in 1980 as a special type processor for managing all component processors, and it includes various internal components such as FPU, Chip RAM and serial links, communication links, etc. Communication links helped to make connections between all transputers.
- Graphic Processors:
Intel has introduced a graphic chip and assigned to name 740-3D. By using those processors, users can use high-definition games and movies.
Advantages of a microprocessor:
The microprocessor is that these are general-purpose electronics processing devices that can be programmed to execute a number of tasks
- Compact size
- High speed
- Low power consumption
- It is portable
- It is very reliable
- Less heat generation
- The microprocessor is very versatile
- The microprocessor is its speed, which is measured in basically Hertz. For instance, a microprocessor with a measured speed of 3 GHz, shortly GHz is capable of performing 3 billion tasks per second
- The microprocessor is that it can quickly move data between the various memory location
Disadvantages of a microprocessor:
- The main disadvantages are it’s overheating physically
- It is only based on machine language
- The overall cost is high
- The large size of the PCB is required for assembling all components
- The physical size of the product is big
- Overall product design requires more time
- A discrete component is used, and the system is not reliable
- The most microprocessor does not support floating point operations
- The processor has a limitation on the size of the data
- This processor should not contact with the other external devices
- The microprocessor does not have any internal peripheral like ROM, RAM, and other I/O devices
Applications of the Microprocessors
- It is present in single-board microcomputers as they use low configuration with software and hardware.
- It is embedded in the PC making it suitable to access and use applications.
- It’s present in superminis and CAD enhancing their performance.
- It acts as an instrument because of its accepting programmability.
- It acts as a controller in many home appliances like toasters, televisions, stereo systems, etc. In the science industry, it is useful for measuring speed, temperature, moisture, etc.
- The telecom sector uses it for a digital telephone system, telephone exchange, and modem while the hospitality sector uses it for railway and airline reservation systems.
- Office automation uses it for word processing, spreadsheet operations, storage, etc.
- The publication uses it for automatic photocopies, high-quality printing, and good speed.
- Consumers are using it for toys, amusement devices, and house held devices frequently nowadays.
- It is also present in wireless communication equipment allowing them to interact and connect with devices.
Common Terms Used
When it comes to discussing microprocessors, their function, and more, you’re likely to come across a number of terms that you may not be familiar with. The following are some common terms related to microprocessors:
Word length refers to the number of bits in the processor’s internal data bus–or the number of bits that a processor can process at any given time. For example, an 8-bit processor will have 8-bit registers, an 8-bit data bus, and will perform 8-bit processing at a time.
The instruction set is the series of commands that a microprocessor can understand. Essentially, it’s the interface between the hardware and the software.
The cache memory is used to store data or instructions that the software or program frequently references during operation. Basically, it helps to increase the operation’s overall speed by allowing the processor to access data more quickly than from a regular RAM.
The clock speed is the speed at which a microprocessor is able to execute instructions. It’s typically measured in Hertz and expressed in measurements like MHz (megahertz) and GHz (gigahertz).
A bus is a term used to describe the set of conductors that transmit data or that address or control information to the microprocessor’s different elements. Most microprocessors consist of three different buses, which include the data bus, the address bus, and the control bus.
In conclusion, as already established, the microprocessor is a very important part of the computer, as a matter of fact, without the microprocessor, the computer will not function.