what is a processor?

Hi can anyone tell me what a processor is and does and if possible why the more of them is better?
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hugetoonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
The processor is the device that executes programs in your computer.

To do its work the processor communicates (and controls) other devices like Memory (RAM, ROM), peripherals (Disks, Video and Network adapters etc).
The communication with peripherals is done via a data bus (PCI, AGP ....)

When executed, programs reside in memory, for example when the computer is tourned on the processor reads and executes instructions stored in ROM, these instructions are often called BIOS.

The BIOS program tries to find a storage device where another program resides: the Operating System. Once found, parts of the Operating System are transferred from the storage device to RAM and the the processor starts to execute them.

The operating system loads more programs from disk to RAM (exe files for windows).

In a multitasking operating system many programs can be executed "in parallel". Actually they all reside in RAM and the processor switches between the very fast under the control of the operating system.

When you have many processors, if the operating system supports it (most do), the processors run program in parallel for real.

For example while one processor executes the operating system, the other executes your favorite FPS game.


ac_davis2002Author Commented:
ac_davis2002Author Commented:
First class
Please note that the description is simplified, it would take several books to describe everything accurately and in detail.
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