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What is a "computer processor"?

Computer Processor Basics

Ali Nasri (Computer Specialist, Mac 911 Inc.) gives expert video advice on: How does cache affect the speed of my computer? and more...

What is a "computer processor"?

A computer processor is the brain of the computer. It is the piece of hardware that handles all the calculations that go on inside the computer. When you click on something, that goes to the processor. The computer processor determines what you want to do based on the software that you're running, and makes the calculations, and then you see the result of that on your screen.

What is the difference between "megahertz" and "gigahertz"?

A megahertz and a gigahertz are used to determine the speed of the computer. The faster the megahertz or gigahertz, the faster your computer is going to be. Computers nowadays are all measured in gigahertz. Megahertz is from the past. A gigahertz is equal to a billion cycles per second. A megahertz is a million cycles per second.

What is "cache"?

Cache is short-term storage. Cache enables a computer to store parts of data, or complete data, in an area of the computer that can be accessed more rapidly. For example, a computer could take information that is stored on a hard drive and put that information onto a memory chip. It can read and written faster to a memory chip than it can read and written to a hard drive. That also comes into play when you go on the internet and you browse Web pages. There is software cache, where the computer will store frequently accessed websites or images that you visited. This cache works so that the next time you go to that website, it doesn't have to download all that information again - it can just access it quickly from the hard drive.

How does cache affect the speed of my computer?

The cache will improve the speed of your computer because the computer will not have to find that information that you've already accessed before. It can go to its hard drive for a software cache or it can go to a memory chip to pull that information up.