A microprocessor is a tiny electronic chip found inside a computer's central processing unit and other electronic devices. Its basic function is to take input, process it and then provide appropriate output.
On the surface, a microprocessor’s job may seem like an easy task, but modern microprocessors perform trillions of instructions per second.
A computer’s central processing unit handles all the processing functions of a computer including processing instructions from peripheral devices as well as input from running programs.
From the time a computer is turned on to the time it is shut down, a microprocessor will have performed millions of logic and arithmetic operations. These operations utilize tiny number holding spaces called registers. Typical arithmetic operations include adding, subtracting and comparing two or more values.
To perform the operations, a microprocessor has to receive specific instructions as part of its design. For instance, when a computer is started, the microprocessor receives its first set of instructions from the basic input-output system.
A microprocessor’s speed is measured in megahertz. It is common to associate a higher megahertz with better performance but this is not always true. A computer’s overall performance is influenced by several factors such as the amount of available memory, the bus architecture, the applications running on the computer and the efficiency of the processor.