Microprocessor and Memory Basics

Abstract system architecture

A typical system architecture for a computer will have three principal blocks:

  • The Microprocessor itself consisting of:
    • an Arithmetic/Logic Unit (ALU) that performs mathematical and logical computations;
    • a Control Unit that manages the execution of instructions;
    • and multiple Registers that are used as temporary storage for instructions and data.
  • Memory, which is used to store both the instructions to be executed by the microprocessor and the data to be used in the computation.
  • Input and Output ports which interface the processor to the external world, including keyboards, mice, monitors, hard disc drives, etc.

Processor Schematic Architecture