Skip to main content


Front view of a Pentium Processor MMX sitting next to a wooden ruler showing the length as five centimetres. (Graphic from Wikimedia commons uploaded by lorsh 2004)

In this part of the course we will examine the principles, operations and speeds of processors.

One of the most common families of processors is the Intel Pentium range which ranges from the Pentium to the latest Intel Pentium D processors.

As well as Intel, the other major processor manufacturer is Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD). AMD are Intels major rival and their processor family range from the Athlon and Athlon XP processors to the newer AMD64 processors.

It is beyond the scope of this course to examine in detail the vast range of processors along with the slot and socket but the key factor when choosing a processor is the motherboard. The first thing to consider is whether the motherboard chipset supports the processor at its default clock speed.

A motherboard's chipset is designed to work with and support the architectural features of a processor and make most efficient use of the processor. Therefore, a motherboard that is designed for AMD processors will not support Intel Pentium processors because of the physical and architectural differences.

Next: What is a Processor?