What is a CPU: Function, How it Works, and its Types
What is a CPU: Function, How it Works, and its Types
When looking for a new PC or laptop, the specifications for the type of CPU that we can find in the new device must be listed. But most people don't know that all of that is very important. When we decide to choose between AMD and Intel, dual or quad-core, it can be hard to tell the difference and why it matters. Most people still don't know what is a CPU?
What are CPUs?
The Core Processing Unit (CPU) is often referred to as the brain of the computer. While the CPU is only one of many processing units, it is one of the most important. Because it is the part of the computer that performs calculations, actions, and runs programs.
The CPU takes instructional input from the computer's RAM, interprets and processes the actions, before providing output. CPUs are in all kinds of devices from computers and laptops, to smartphones, tablets and smart TVs. These small square chips are usually placed on the device's motherboard and interact with other hardware devices to operate our computers.
Actually the main function of the CPU is to process the instructions given to the computer. This is why the CPU is known as the "brain" of the PC. Every operation performed, such as when you type on the keyboard, open and close programs, and save files. It's all done by the CPU.
How CPUs Work
There have actually been so many improvements over the years since CPUs first appeared. Nonetheless, the basic Function of the CPU remains the same which consists of three steps: Fetch, Decode, and Execute.
As we would expect, fetch involves receiving instructions. Instructions are represented as a series of numbers and passed to the CPU from RAM. Each instruction is only one small part of any operation, so the CPU needs to know which instructions are coming next. The current instruction address is held by the program counter (PC). The PC and instructions are then entered into the Instruction Register (IR). The PC length is then increased to reference the address of the next instruction.
After the instructions are fetched and stored in the IR, the CPU passes the instructions to a circuit called an instruction decoder. This is the part for converting instructions into signals that must be passed to other parts of the CPU to execute.
In the last step, instructions are sent to the relevant CPU parts to be completed. The result is usually written to a CPU register, where the result can be referenced in the next instruction. Think of it like the memory function on a calculator.
How Many Number of Cores Needed
Early CPUs were created to have only one core. This means the CPU is limited to only one task and it is one of the reasons why computers are often relatively slow and time consuming. But after pushing single-core CPUs to their limits, manufacturers started looking for new ways of boosting CPU performance. Finally created a multi-core processor. Nowadays, we might hear terms like dual, quad, or even octo-core.
Dual-core processors for example only have two separate CPUs on a single chip. By increasing the number of cores, the CPU is able to handle multiple processes simultaneously. This has the effect of increasing performance and reducing processing time. Dual-core soon gave way to quad-core processors with four CPUs, and even octo-core or eight-core processors.
Having knowledge of CPU operation along with different brands and core numbers is very helpful. However, there are tons of options out there even with the same high-level specs. There are several other specifications that can help us decide when we want to buy a CPU.
1. Mobile vs Desktop
We know that a computer is a large static electronic device powered by a constant supply of electricity. But with the creation of smartphones, we realize that we basically carry computers wherever we go. Mobile processors are optimized for efficiency and power consumption so that the device battery lasts as long as possible.
Many manufacturers took the same initial naming of mobile processors as desktops. Although this is a different product. Mobile processor prefixes have a “U” for ultra low power, “HQ” for high performance graphics, and “HK” for high performance graphics with overclockability. Desktop prefixes include “K” for overclockability, and “T” for power optimized.
2. 32 or 64-bit
A processor does not receive a constant stream of data. Instead of receiving data in small chunks known as “words.” Processors are limited by the number of bits in a word. When 32-bit processors were first designed, word size seemed to be huge. Moore's law persisted, and suddenly computers could handle more than 4GB of RAM, and that led to the creation of new 64-bit processors.
3. Thermal Power Design
Design Thermal Power is a measure of the maximum power in Watts that the CPU will consume. Although lower power consumption is definitely good for electricity bills and it causes less heat.
4. CPU Socket Type
To make a fully functional computer, the CPU must be attached to other components via the motherboard. When choosing a CPU, we need to make sure that the CPU socket type and the motherboard match.
L2 and L3 caches are fast on-board memory for the CPU to use during processing. The more we have, the faster the CPU performance.
Frequency refers to the operating speed of the processor. Before multi-core processors, frequency was the most important performance metric between different CPUs. Despite the added features, it's still an important spec to consider. For example, it's possible for a very fast dual-core CPU to outperform a slower quad-core CPU.
The CPU is actually the brain of the computer. This hardware performs all the tasks we usually associate with computing. Most of the other computer components really exist to support the operation of the CPU. Improvements made in processor technology including hyper-threading and multiple cores played an important role in the Technical Revolution.
So What Is a CPU? The central processing unit (CPU) is the unit that does most of the processing inside the computer. To control the flow of instructions and data to and from other parts of the computer, the CPU relies heavily on the chipset, which is a group of microchips located on the motherboard.
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