Processor Register

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What Does Processor Register Mean?

A processor register is a local storage space on a processor that holds data that is being processed by CPU. Processor registers generally occupy the top-most position in the memory hierarchy, providing high-speed storage space and fast access to data. A register may include the address of the memory location instead of the real data itself.


Techopedia Explains Processor Register

Every processor has a local storage area known as a register that performs most of the operations that the processor cannot perform directly. Any kind of data must first be identified by the register before it can be manipulated by the processor. For example, if an arithmetic operation is to be performed on two numbers, the inputs and the results are to be stored in the register. The processor registers are generally measured in terms of bits to determine the amount of data they can hold. For example, the two most frequently used terms, 32-bit processor’ and 64-bit processor, generally refer to the size of the register on the processor.

Processor registers can be classified into general-purpose and special-purpose registers. These can be categorized into several types based on the type of instructions being handled:

  • Conditional
  • Address
  • vector
  • Data
  • Control and status
  • Model-specific

General-purpose registers temporarily store data that is being processed by the CPU. Special-purpose registers may store instruction counters, which contain the address of the next sequential instruction to be processed.

Processor registers are normally made of static or dynamic random access memory (RAM) cells. Static RAM offers faster access to data than dynamic RAM, which is relatively slow.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.