Most people do not know what CPU means and what is its role in a computer. When you are looking for a new laptop or a PC, have you ever wondered what this i-7 or i-3 or AMD Athlon means? Most of the advertisements highlight the CPU type to market their laptop or mobile phones. Some of you might know the full form of a CPU but are eager to know how a CPU works and how it affects the overall speed of a computing device.
What is a CPU (Central Processing Unit)
The full form of CPU is Central Processing Unit. Alternatively, it is also known by the name of the processor, microprocessor, or computer processor. A CPU is an electronic circuit used in a computer that fetches the input instructions or commands from the memory unit, performs arithmetic and logic operations, and stores this processed data back in memory.
A CPU or Central Processing Unit is the heart of a computer and is installed in a socket specified on a motherboard. Since a CPU performs a lot of calculations at a high speed, it gets heated up quickly. To cool down the temperature of a CPU a cooling FAN is installed on it.
Components of a CPU
The Control Unit is an internal part of a CPU that coordinates the instructions and data flow between the CPU and other components of the computer. It is the CU that directs the operations of a central processing unit by sending timing and control signals.
Arithmetic Logic Unit
The ALU is an internal electronic circuitry of a CPU that performs all the arithmetic and logical operations in a computer. The ALU receives three types of inputs.
- A control signal from CU ( Control Unit )
- Data(operands) to be operated
- Status information from operations done previously.
When all the instructions have been operated, the output that consists of data is stored in memory, and status information is stored in the internal registers of a CPU.
Working of a CPU
All the CPUs regardless of their origin or type perform a basic instruction cycle that consists of three steps named Fetch, decode and Execute
A program consists of a number of instructions. Various programs are stored in memory. During this step, the CPU reads instruction that is to be operated from a particular address in the memory. The program counter of the CPU keeps the record of the address of the instructions.
A circuitry called an instruction decoder decodes all the instructions fetched from the memory. The instructions are decoded to various signals that control other areas of the CPU.
In the last step, the CPU executes the instruction. For example, it stores a value in the particular register and the instruction pointer then points to another instruction that is stored in the next address location.
The speed of the processor is measured by the number of clock cycles a CPU can perform in a second. The more the number of clock cycles, the more instructions (calculations) it can carry out. The CPU speed is measured in Hertz. Modern Day processors have speed units of GHz. ( 1GHz=1 million thousand cycles per second).
The 3 major giant manufacturers of CPUs used in desktops or laptops are Intel, AMD, and VIA(Embedded devices) while Qualcomm, Samsung, and Apple are the top three manufacturers of mobile processors.
Checkout the features of the latest 12th generation Intel core processor in this video