Help me understand better the archiving process

I have read the documentation, many times, but I still don’t understand the fundamentals of archiving, why it is needed, and how it works.

For example, I disabled browser archiving and imported some old logs of a previous day into Matomo. I was still able to see those logs, besides the fact that those logs were not archived. After that, I run the archiving script, nothing changed.

So, what is the difference between archived and not archived logs, since both are visible “real time”?

I would think that not archived old logs, wouldn’t be available for the end user until the archiving process would take place. This is apparently not the case since even old logs that have never been archived are available to the user immediately after their import.

If I understand this correctly, Matomo watches both archived and not archived logs at the same time when a report is required, takes the archived logs immediately, and processes all logs that are not yet archived to also show them in the same report. Is this the case?

Follow-up question: the “Archive reports at most every X seconds” setting archives today’s logs. What difference does this make if I run a cronjob every hour or every 30 minutes?