Central Processing Unit

If you are starting your journey into the world of computers, there are many components to learn about that can sometimes be difficult to understand. A key part of any computer is called the CPU which stands for Central Processing Unit. A CPU is an essential part of any computer or electronic computing device and is often referred to as the brain of the computer.

Central Processing Unit

CPUs perform many functions that are central to everything working smoothly including processing and executing instructions.

What is The CPU of a Computer?

The Central Processing Unit, or brains of the computer, is a key component of any computing device, however, it is not the only important part. A CPU is a specially designed chip that sits in a socket found on the motherboard inside the computer. The CPU is completely separate to the memory. It is also separate from the graphics card or chip that renders all images and videos you can see on the screen.

To make a CPU billions of minuscule transistors are place onto a single computer chip. Thanks to these transistors the CPU can make the necessary calculations needed to run the programs stored on the device’s memory. In effect, a transistor is a minute gate that switches on or off, this action conveys the ones or zeros that convert into everything you do on the device for example watching videos, gaming, or work.

Every year technology is advancing and improving all aspects of computing. CPUs are no exception as advancements mean that the transistors are becoming smaller and smaller. Thanks to these improvements, CPUs are seeing ever faster speeds.

Computers we use today including desktops and laptops have a CPU that performs most processing functions for the entire system. If you are using a mobile device, including some tablets, they often use a specialized chip with has the CPU integrated with other components. Some manufacturers also offer a CPU with memory and graphics chips stored on them as well. This means it does a lot more than a standard CPU.

What Does A CPU Do in a PC?

To put it simply a Central Processing Unit ( CPU ) takes instructions from an application or a program and performs a calculation. There are three stages to this process –

  1. Fetch
  2. Decode
  3. Execute

The CPU fetches the instructions from the RAM, then it decodes the instruction and finally executes the instructions using the relevant parts of the CPU.

When executing the instruction, it may involve basic arithmetic as it compares numbers together or moves them around the memory. Every function of a computing device is represented by numbers and is translated by the CPU so that everything runs as it should. Logging in, watching a video, or gaming is all started by the CPU.

Does the CPU do everything?

No, the Central Processing Unit ( CPU ) is important but not responsible for everything. It will send further instructions, in the number format used by computers, to the rest of the computer parts so they can function accordingly. For example, it will tell the hard drive to move a document to the systems RAM for easier and quicker access. Another example is that the CPU will tell the graphics card to show a particular image.

What are Computer Processor Cores?

When CPUs were first invented, they had one single processing core. As technology has progressed so have CPUs. A CPU today will have multiple cores which means it can handle many instructions at the same time. In essence, several CPUs are held on one single chip. The majority of CPUs today have a minimum of a dual core processor. However, higher end machines will likely have four core CPUs and can go as high as sixteen core CPUs if needed.

A technology that is included with some processors is known as multithreading. Imagine one CPU core that is able to perform two lines of execution (threads) at the same time. To the operating system, this will look like two cores. Virtual cores don’t possess the same level of power as physical cores but do use the same resources. They can benefit systems that are compatible as they boost the CPUs ability to multi-task.

What Does Clock Speed Mean on CPU?

When researching CPUs, the clock speed is something you will hear about often. On many product descriptions, you will see the gigahertz (GHz) listed.

What does GHz mean for CPU?

The GHz figure represents how many instructions a Central Processing Unit should be able to handle every second. However, when talking about the computer device’s’ performance the GHz is not the only factor. The clock speed is mainly relevant when comparing CPUs made by the same manufacturer or from the same time period. If everything is equal, faster clock speed means faster Central Processing Unit ( CPU ). Keep in mind though that a 3GHz CPU made in 2010 won’t be able to compete with a 2GHz CPU made in 2020.

How much does a CPU cost?

If you are an average user, then you probably won’t need to spend more than $200 to get an adequate CPU for your needs. If you are a heavy user such as a gamer or you use the computer for intensive work, you may need to look for a Central Processing Unit ( CPU ) that is above that price.

Is A CPU Important?

Once upon a time, the CPU was crucial to the performance of the system. Today, there are other parts that are just as important to the running of the system and the CPU plays a key role in helping everything run smoothly. The CPU is the part that is responsible for executing commands within programs. One way to ensure applications run faster is to get a faster CPU.

A fast CPU is great but it does have limitations. For example, rendering the latest games or storing information can’t be done by a CPU regardless of how powerful it is. Other components such as the graphics card or memory handle these other necessary functions.

To sum up, the CPU is important although it is not the only important part. If you have a fast CPU your system will usually run faster. On top of that if you get a CPU with multiple cores and threads this means your computer can easily multitask.

How a CPU Works Animation

CPU FAQs

How does a CPU affect gaming?

If your Central Processing Unit ( CPU ) is slow, then gaming can be much harder. For the best gaming experience keep your CPU up to date. It also helps to keep the RAM and graphics card up to date as well.

Is the CPU performance affected by RAM?

To get the best out of your CPU make sure you have enough RAM. To little could mean the CPU isn’t performing to its highest standard. The CPU stores data on the RAM, if it needs the data quickly and you don’t have enough RAM this can cause delays often referred to as a bottleneck.

What devices use a CPU?

Any device that needs to perform computing functions will have a Central Processing Unit ( CPU ). This includes desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and many more.

What happens if a CPU core dies?

In the event, a core dies the entire processor will normally stop working. Sometimes the system will still partially work but with many issues.

What can damage a CPU?

The most common reason for CPU failure is either overheating or physical damage.

Is it possible to repair a CPU?

A skilled professional could repair a CPU but, in most cases, the cost of a repair would mean it’s not worth doing.

Should i Overclock CPU

Overclocking means you will get the Central Processing Unit ( CPU ) to work faster than the recommended settings. Some CPUs can be overclocked but not all. Overclocking can result in damage to the CPU and other parts such as the motherboard. If you are thinking of overclocking, then do your research first.

Final Thoughts

You should now have all the basic knowledge you need to understand the importance of the Central Processing Unit ( CPU ). The Central Processing Unit is the brain of the computer which will determine how fast everything runs. Provided you have a fast CPU, then your computing experience should be smooth and quick.

If you are a heavy user such as a gamer, then the CPU will work best if other components such as the graphics card or RAM are kept up to date also.

Understanding the CPU can help you make the right choices plus save you money too. After all, there is no point in spending large amounts of money on high-end equipment if you don’t need it. Now that you understand the CPU you can buy the one that is relevant to your needs.

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