What is CPU?

Javed Ali Javed Ali
What is CPU?

As a computer freak who spends most of his days and nights in front of the screen or maybe a beginner who has just stepped into the world of technology, no matter at what level of a computer user you are, you must already have heard of what is CPU, right? So what exactly is the sole purpose of this piece of hardware, and how does it function? Let’s get down to the nits and grits of a processor and its significance.

You would have come across the acronym CPU quite often, but it stands for ‘Central Processor Unit,’ which clarifies its purpose. You might also know it as a microprocessor or simply a processor. The CPU, the central part of a computer, is also the first thing a PC builder buys for his build. Since this importance cannot be denied, being a PC builder or a PC user, you would never take this purchase lightly. It would help if you went through this quick guide to know almost all the main stuff about a processor in no time.

Where do you find CPU in a computer?

You can compare a computer’s CPU to the human body’s brain. The human body can only function fully and perfectly if the brain works properly. Likewise, the CPU is the protagonist of any computational device. You find it in all computers no matter what kind of computer it is and regardless of the size as well. A digital computational device will never get to work if the processor is faulty or absent, so you must be well aware of the significant components and principles.

If you get down to the basics, you will find a well-integrated system with many transistors. Depending on the type and size of the CPU, you would find a hundred to a billion transistors. As mentioned, those parts work seamlessly and continuously, like the brain’s neurons. These transistors are binary switches that help the electricity flow evenly throughout the circuit. These tiny switches do not let the current stop or overflow, which is how the whole circuit stays intact.

What are computer programs, and where are they stored?

And now, what functions does it execute? Which one of the PC chores does a CPU do the best? Well, every single one of the errands that your computer is the processor’s hard work. Be it calculation or nerve-racking gaming contests; a CPU handles it all. In other words, all the tasks it does require a program. While typing a document, creating a media file, or performing any simple or hectic task, your computer has a knack for dealing with it, with a dedicated program for each function.

The program we are talking about is a set of instructions that a programmer has designed in a specific language that is readable. The programmer stores the programs in the storage device, and the relevant one comes in handy when the representative task is on the go. But it is by no means that simple. All the information that goes in as input, the work the system does in response, and the final output are how it is, thanks to the programs running in the background.

Let’s clarify that we used the word ‘binary’ a moment ago. Since the programmers write the commands in the human-readable programming language, the CPU does not interpret it that way. And that is why it then uses the binary system, which means the whole program changes into a code language of 0 and 1. 1 shows the switch is turned on and the current flowing through the transistors, while 0 indicates that the switch is not on yet. We name this binary way as ‘Bits’ too.

You might be wondering if the computer stores those bits permanently or not. It does save them permanently in HDD or SSD. No matter which path it uses, the data is stored for good. Both hard disk drives and solid state ones keep it even if they are not in use at the moment or are not powered on yet. However, when it comes to the short-term storage you need while running a program, RAM comes in handy. Also termed Random Access Memory, this storage unit removes all that temporarily stored data once you shut the program.

What does a CPU do?

So we have already discussed what the CPU is, what sort of parts it comprises, and its significance. But now, let’s briefly discuss the tasks a processor performs. At first, when computers were thought of as mere giant calculators, processors played their part in logical calculations. And in this modern era, the processor helps execute all the programs and functions the user intends to perform. Following are the steps of how the CPU carries out the instructions:

What are the main parts of a CPU?

The work is all done, and now you know what is CPU. But what parts of the CPU are involved in this procedure? What are the components that do all the hectic tasks efficiently? We’ll name a few of them below for you:

What are CPU cores?

A CPU core is a whole processor since it interprets and works on the information. A single core can work on only one task at a time. A few years ago, computers used to suffice with a single core, but the computational power and overall performance were dull. But as the complexity of tasks magnified, the manufacturers understood the urge and developed processors supporting multiple cores.

Now with many cores ranging from two to eighteen, you can be the ultimate multitasker. Now just come to think of it, a dual-core processor was a massive step toward advanced technology. The one with four cores (a Quad-core) would be even better. But as this number increases, the computer would be a robust and utterly blazing beast since each core will handle a specific task.

What is hyperthreading?

Hyperthreading is the raging technology that has swept the technological world over the past few years. One can get the most out of his rig through this technology as it lets multiple threads on each core, thus enhancing productivity. The basic phenomenon of this technology revolves around the idea of virtual cores. The original core is made to appear as multiple cores and trick the system into considering them as actual cores. In this way, the overall computational powers get multiplied manifold.

Final Words

Let’s conclude this worthwhile discussion with the assumption that you now have a better grip on the topic. Now that you know what is CPU and how it performs the tasks that you throw at it, you might want to purchase the one that would suit your needs. Intel and AMD are the most well-acclaimed brands in the CPU market. Both these companies produce class-leading products, and a wide range of their masterpieces are on the shelves. So, opt for the processor that intrigues you and matches your specific needs.

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