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Chapter 37. Upgrading Your CPU and BIOS > Understanding Processors

Understanding Processors

In the last few years, PCs have come to be identified by the type and speed of the CPU installed. For example, most of you have heard someone describe their PC by saying they have a “Pentium III 850,” or a “Celeron 733.” What they're referring to is the type of CPU installed in their PC and the clock speed of the CPU.

Clock speed is a measurement of how fast—its maximum speed—a particular CPU is set to operate. The speed is the measurement in megahertz (abbreviated MHz) of an oscillating timing crystal used to control how fast the CPU can perform internal operations. Since the 486, the stated clock speed is the speed at which the CPU should be operating, according to the manufacturer. Later, you will see that is not always the case.



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