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The first microprocessor chip, the Intel 4004, had 2300 transistors in 1971.


The processor performs all the fundamental computation of the computer system. Other components contribute to the computation by doing such things as storing data or moving data into and out of the processor. But the processor is where the fundamental action takes place.

A processor chip has relatively little memory. It has only enough memory to hold a few instructions of a program and the data they process. Complete programs and data sets are held in memory external to the processor. This memory is of two fundamental types: main memory, and secondary memory.

Main memory is sometimes called volatile because it looses its information when power is removed. Secondary memory is usually nonvolatile because it retains its information when power is removed. (However, it needs power when information is stored into memory or retrieved from it.)

Main memory is sometimes called main storage and secondary memory is sometimes called secondary storage or mass storage.


Which is fastest? Main memory or secondary memory?