Electromigration is a very damaging
process that can harm a CPU, if heat is not dispussed properly.
This is the process in which a CPU's transistors break down
due to electrical erosion. Once the transistors erode they usually
would combine with un-eroded transistors which can throw off
any of the data, or math calculation the CPU was trying to perform.
To understand how a CPU works,
you need to think of it as a tiny assembly line where incoming
bits of data are shuffled through a series of pipes and stages
until they come out the other end as a complete product. CPU's
process the data in stages, much like the way a factory works,
preparing bits in one area to be sent to the next. This happens
at the atomic level, with individual 1ís and 0ís (binary language)
through the CPU's structure. By conducting millions of operations
per second the processor can do very complex mathematical operations
very quickly. MHz or mega-hertz stands for the number millions
of calculations a CPU can perform in 1 second. Intelís newest
processor (the Pentium III) maxes out at about 500 MHz and soon
550 MHz. That means that the processor can perform 500 million
operations per second. Every time the processors clock speed
in boosted it can offer great performance gains. A boost from
500 MHz to 550 MHz can give about a 10% performance gain. There
are mainly other factors that can impact performance though,
including CPU instruction sets.