Updated April 1, 2023
Definition of Microprocessor Features
Microprocessor is used in a variety of applications due to their unique features such as size, weight, cost, high computing power, and low power consumption, etc., Microprocessor fitted systems are used.
- to monitor and control operations of Industrial devices by measuring key parameters like temperature, pressure, speed
- in instruments to raise an alert or warning on extreme conditions
- to automate office work / business processes and improve white collar productivity
- in simplifying publishing activity
- to speed up the information exchange through Telephone and Satellite network
- in rolling out innovations in entertainment, games and Photography
- to make everybody and everything stay connected with each other
Explanation of Microprocessor
Microprocessor is the heart of computer systems and it is called as Central Processing Unit (CPU). CPU consists of Arithmetic and logical unit (ALU) to perform mathematical and comparison operations register to store inputs/ results / intermediate values and control unit to monitor/control the entire operations. Microprocessors with read-only memory to hold boot programs and random access memory to store processed results can act as full-fledged computers and such microcomputers are fitted into physical devices for monitoring its operations.
Top Features of Microprocessors
Features of Microprocessors are given below:
Microprocessors are available in 8 bit, 16 bit, 32 bit, 64 bit architectures. This bit size indicates the size of the data, the processor can handle and the scope of the memory the processor can address during its operation. The bit sizes can also be called bus width (data and address).
More bus width will reflect in enhanced performance, less cycles in larger size computation, higher throughput due to more operations in a cycle, and less damages in case of failure. For normal accounting operations, 8 bit or 16-bit processors would be sufficient and a 32-bit processor is required in image processing where speed throughput is important and a 64-bit processor is required in handling large drawings and 3D objects.
As the processor width increases program code size comes down. Though it largely challenging to code in 64 bit processor than 8 bit, the external tool, aides, Integrated development environment make it easier to develop programs in computers with higher width processor. Due to this labour cost also is lower.
2. Parallel Processing
The multicore chip that contains more than one processor in it, enables parallel processing of independent portions of a task. It reduces the overall time taken to complete a task, saves power consumption, and improves efficiency. Data-intensive jobs will be processed in this mode by Data Scientists.
Any complex process can be divided into multiple logical parts and each part can run in a processor controlled by a tool. This tool synchronizes all the parallel processes along with its data, controls the operations, and finally reassembles the output of all these processors.
Several forms of parallel processing could be:
- Same instruction can run in multiple processors parallelly with different data (SIMD) to
Increase data crunching rate:
- Multiple instructions will run different processors with multiple data (MIMD)
- Multiple instructions to process same data (MISD) to test different algorithms
3. Multiprocessing and Time Sharing
The time is divided into several equal slices and it is allotted to various processes in a round-robin fashion. As the available CPU is only one in the system and that CPU will process the allotted process for that slice of time or till the interrupt occurs whichever is earlier. The computer resource is shared across multiple processes running concurrently. But it may appear that each process gets the full resources all the time. The operating system handles the time slicing, allocation of resources, and deallocation without any conflicts.
4. Categories of Microprocessors
Based on the way instruction set is constructed and how they are getting executed, microprocessors are categorised into
- Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC): It uses a small set of instructions that are highly optimized to execute programs. Each instruction consumes one clock cycle. By doing so the execution time gets reduced considerably but the need for storing a large volume of data in various registers brings down the efficiency of operations. A small set leads to more code lines in this type of processors and more time for the compiler to convert the code into machine language.
- Complex Instruction Set Computer (CISC): More complexity is added to the instruction to reduce the number of instruction sets. The length of the code is relatively low here when compared to others. Here the compiler needs to spend a little time converting the given code to machine code. Processors need to do a lot of work executing the complex code and there is not much of a need to store and move data from registers. Hence it requires less memory.
- Special Purpose Processors: Designed to serve a specific, special purpose. Coprocessors, Input/output processors, Digital signal processors, Transputer are some of the special-purpose processors.
Size: Large scale integration (LSI) in the Electronic circuit boards in 1970 and Very large scale integration (VLSI) in 1980s had increased the transistor density and they enabled packing of thousands of transistors, memory units and resistors in a circuit board. This development led to reducing the size to 5mm X 5 mm square and a few mm thick.
Cost: As the technology improves the cost either comes down or the value for the money increases. The user gets more features for the same money or a slightly higher amount spent. Technology improvement spurs up demand for microprocessors and the volume of production goes up and hence the cost remains lower.
Power consumption: Microprocessors consume less power due to their material content and the technology used in manufacturing.
Versatility: Microprocessors can be deployed for multiple purposes by simply configuring the software in them.
Reliability: Microprocessors are highly reliable in their operation and their performance is steady even under complex conditions.
We live in the computer world and our day-to-day life runs on mobile phones, apps, and games. The microprocessor is omnipresent in all these devices and their usage is on the increase and they silently perform in the back end to flourish our lives.
This is a guide to Microprocessor Features. Here we also discuss the definition and Features of Microprocessors along with a detailed explanation. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –