Computer processor the CPU


CPU the computer processor

The CPU or Central Processing Unit is the brain of your PC computer. This electronic chip is the one that interacts with the chipset and other components of your computer to achieve all the tasks you ask your computer to do. The faster your CPU is the faster the computer will be.

There are a lot of different generation of CPUs and there also different kind within the same family of processors. For example, some cpu's will have different amount of on-chip cache memory, different voltage... even if they are parts of the same CPU group. So before upgrading a CPU you have to make sure you buy one that is compatible with your computer main board.

The computer's CPU is the chip that gets requests from the different components of the PC devices and process them. It controls all the PC devices and use them to achieve the task then returns the resulting data to the device requesting it.

Most processors have on-chip high speed cache memory to store bios commands and data for faster access to them. The computer ram being slower than cache ram, storing commands or data used repetitively in the CPU cache will speed up things quite a bit.

Picture of a computer processor

Processors generate heat and have to be cooled with a CPU fan and heatsink. If the CPU overheats then it will fail and eventually be damaged if the faulty CPU fan is not cleaned/replaced. Some computer BIOS will have a temperature monitor for the processor and give a high temperature warning.

The motherboard are usually made to support one family of CPU. Some may accept different brands like Intel or AMD cpu's and compatible models. It usually depends on the physical characteristics like voltage, the pin alignments...

The processor's speed is usually expressed in MHZ (MegaHertz) or in GHZ (GigaHertz). A Pentium 600 runs at 600HMZ and a P4 1.4 runs at 1.4GHZ or 1400MHZ which is the same but expressed with a different unit.