First, What is a processor? Yes show it to me. I bet you cannot show it to me unless your computer is not in maintenance.

Do you know why? Because it’s beneath the CPU cooler, so you cannot see it!

Even if you take out the cooler, you cannot see the processor, because an actual processor (core) will be less than the size of a SIM card. It’s enclosed or packed inside a hybrid metal box, which is the one you can see beneath the cooler.

While we’re trying to make computers smaller, why is such arrangement?

1.     Protection for processor core

2.     High Grade silicon is costly, so core of the processor is designed smaller

3.     Less power consumption, less heat, low cost

Hereafter if I say processor it means the whole hybrid metal casing. So now you know, ‘What is a processor?’ (In our terms- Remember NO definitions!).

As I have said earlier, a processor is the brain of the computer. It decides the maximum speed of your computer.

Why I mean it as maximum speed?

Let’s go for an example. Let’s take a car and a bike for example. A car has higher capacity engine and so its body parts are manufactured in such a way that it supports the maximum capabilities of its engine. Similarly a bike is built to tackle its own top speed. Now just assume that I somehow managed to fix that car’s engine perfectly in the bike.

What will happen now?

The engine can go higher speeds but the body of the bike cannot bear such speeds.

Similarly what will happen if I place the bike’s engine in car?

Certainly the car will be underpowered. Don’t imagine Tata Nano, which boasts a 600cc bike engine, I’m talking about a 100cc bike engine in a car.

What can you infer from this?

A powerful processor, when combined with an under powered graphic card or low capacity RAM or less feature rich motherboard then it is like a car’s engine fixed in a bike.

So, only when you improve the complete range of basic components of the computer, they can cope up with the performance of the processor. So, most of the time, the performance of a budget or mid-range computer is capped by a processor.

But in our day to day applications and gaming applications, graphics cards and SSD become a bottleneck. As I said yesterday, only if you add SSD, you can see a boost in boot up time, application loading time etc. Even if you have some high speed processors such as Intel Core i7 3770K or AMD FX 8350, your boot up time will be more if you don’t have a SSD.

Have you heard bottleneck?

When we talk in particular, we call a processor as CPU (central processing unit). Why?

It processes everything. If so, what does it process?

It processes just mathematical calculations involving 0s and 1s. I don’t want to make it more complicated by going deeper. So, let me give you an example.

Imagine you know only English and I know English as well as Tamil language. But we are separated by long distance and we have to contact only through Internet. You are sending me an essay in English that is to be translated into Tamil. Assume I can translate it in 1 minute, but it takes 5 minutes for the essay to reach me in Internet.

So unless we both get a faster Internet connection, the total process cannot be made faster, significantly.

Same principle applies in computer too. I’m the processor, you’re the user and Internet is Motherboard – RAM – Hard disk assembly. So, though your processor is faster, unless you upgrade the other things in your computer, it will not be a balanced one.

How can I know, Which one is bottleneck?

Bottle’s neck is usually smaller than the width of the bottle. So, even if you have large amount of water inside the bottle, unless you increase the size of neck of the bottle, amount of water that comes out cannot be increased.

So we should find whether the bottleneck for performance of your computer is

1.     Processor

2.     RAM

3.     SSD

4.     Graphic Card

To find this out by ourselves, first we should know how each one of them works?

Let’s start with processor. Tomorrow we are going to see. How processor works? What are its applications?

Is it possible to know, Which one is bottleneck without getting to know about them? If so How?