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Old 11-01-2011, 01:35 AM   #1
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Default Re: Question on cpu's

Hi, I am trying to understand the technical side of a clock rate.

I have a few questions:

1. If I were to say my cpu has a frequency of 1 hz then would be cpu be able to complete 1 operation per second?

2. What exactly is a pulse of a clock in cpu's. Is it an electrical volt sent through the cpu (sending a 1 or 0 state)?

3. If so, then does hz refer to the number of pulses per second which is passed through the cpu?

4. How does a crystal oscillator come into this, is the crystal oscillator the 'thing' which defines when pulses are sent through the cpu, and this is done to break up each pulse allowing for the state of the pulse (1 or 0) to register before another pulse is sent?

If someone does reply to me can you please remember im new to this, so please dont use technical jargon which will likely confuze me :P Simple correct or incorrect replies would be better
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: Question on cpu's

All i want is correct's or incorrect's :/
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Old 11-01-2011, 10:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Question on cpu's

You are asking some relatively complex questions and insisting on simple answers to them.


Computerized devices, for the most part, act in a a very serialized way-- step A has to happen before step B and so on. The master clock provides the timing for these steps: clock step A clock step B clock step C...

The faster the clocks, the more stuff can get done in a certain amount of time. There are limitations on how fast the clocks can go, however, because of radio-frequency interference between components, quantum effects, and other technical issues. The computer processor manufacturers have come up with many 'cheats' for getting around this speed-limit of sorts, such as using both up and down cycles of the clock (so one clock can regulate two steps), limited parallel processing (multiple processors) and such.

The clock itself is a cyclical pulse, a sine- or square-wave signal that varies from one voltage level to another; in modern computers it is probably something like 0vdc to 3.3vdc or maybe even less (I haven't had to pay attention to that lately). The frequency of the clock is driven by an oscillator circuit, which often uses a crystal. The crystal will vibrate at a certain fixed frequency (so many times per second; 1 Hertz is one cycle per second) then the processor can use multiplier circuits to scale that frequency up or down according to its needs and distribute its clock signals where they need to go.
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Old 11-01-2011, 10:13 AM   #4
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Default Re: Question on cpu's

Thank you very much for that information.
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