This little chip is the heart of a computer. Also referred to as the "microprocessor," the processor does all the computations such as adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. In PCs, the most popular microprocessor used is the Intel Pentium chip, whereas Macintosh computers use the PowerPC chip (developed by Motorola, IBM, and Apple).

The speed of a computer's processor is measured in megahertz, or cycles per second. But higher megahertz doesn't always mean better performance. Though a 600-MHz chip has a clock speed that is twice as fast as a 300-Mhz chip, it doesn't mean that the computer with the 600-Mhz chip will run twice as fast. This is because the speed of a computer is also influenced by other factors, such as the efficiency of the processor, the bus architecture, the amount of memory available, and the software that is running on the computer. Some processors can complete more operations per clock cycle than other processors, making them more efficient than other processors with higher clock speeds. This is why the PowerPC chip is typically faster than Pentium chips at that are clocked at higher megahertz.

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