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The total amount of memory that is accessible to the processor.
The bus (pathway) that connects the processor to the main memory. The wider the address bus, the more memory can be accessed. Data is NOT transfered over this bus.
The number of bits of data or instructions that can be transferred in a single operation. The larger the data bus, the more data that can be moved and thus the faster the processor can operate.
The bus that determines how many bits of information the processor can work with at once. If the internal bus is smaller than the data bus, data and instructions must be manipulated in parts. For example, a processor with a 32-bit internal bus and a 64-bit data bus, must deal with data in two halves.
High-speed memory contained within or directly coupled to the processor. Accessing data from cache is considerably faster than accessing it from main memory. Processors use levels 1, 2, and 3 caching, where level one is the fastest and most closely coupled to the processor, level 2 less so, and level 3 even less (yet still much faster than normal system memory). Processors save instructions, the data to be processed, and the results in the caches.
The number of cycles per second of the computer's synchronization clock, measured in hertz (Hz), millions of cycles per second (MHz), or billions of cycles per second (GHz). A modern processor performs more than one instruction during every clock cycle. Older processors performed one or fewer. Normally, a clock speed rating refers to the internal or core speed of the processor, rather than the actual speed of the computer's synchronizing clock chip.
Front-side bus speed
The speed at which the processor interacts with the rest of the system. A processor's internal core speed can be many times higher than its front-side bus speed. If the core speed is too much higher than the front-side bus speed, the processor can sit idle, waiting for data to be moved in or out and made available for processing.
An Intel technology that enables a single processor to execute two streams of instructions at the same time, as it if it were two processors.
Multimedia extensions (MMX)
An expanded set of instructions supported by a processor that provides multimedia-specific functions. Without MMX, a programmer might have to implement multiple low-level commands to perform a multimedia operation. With MMX, the same function would involve a single instruction.
Running the CPU at a higher speed than it was rated to run at. Overclocking increases performance, but also increases the potential for errors. Also, more heat is generated by an overclocked CPU.
The overlapping of steps involved in processing instructions. Instructions are normally fetched, decoded, and executed, and the results are written out to memory. Modern processors overlap these steps to speed overall execution. While one instruction is being executed, another is being decoded, and a third is being fetched.
An improvment over pipelining. Superpipelining uses a larger number of shorter stages and support for a higher clock rate to improve performance.
A technique by which the speed of the processor is scaled back so that is uses less power and creates less heat. Throttling reduces performance. It's most useful with portable computers, for which low power consumption and low heat production are critical design factors.
Millions of Instructions Per Second
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