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What does a CPU do when it’s doing nothing?

Your CPU spends the vast majority of its time doing absolutely nothing. This is a fact that most tech enthusiasts are generally aware of, but the mechanics of how a CPU does nothing, switches over to briefly do something, and then returns to doing nothing again isn’t something we’ve discussed in great detail. It’s a question that’s increasingly important to modern processors; the goal of most chips built today is to return to their lowest power states as quickly as possible.

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