Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » C »

CPU - Central Processing Unit

CPU (pronounced as separate letters) is the abbreviation for central processing unit.

Sometimes referred to simply as the central processor, but more commonly called processor, the CPU is the brains of the computer where most calculations take place. In terms of computing power, the CPU is the most important element of a computer system.

Printed Circuit Boards

On large machines, the CPU requires one or more printed circuit boards. On personal computers and small workstations, the CPU is housed in a single chip called a microprocessor. Since the 1970's the microprocessor class of CPUs has almost completely overtaken all other CPU implementations.

The CPU itself is an internal component of the computer. Modern CPUs are small and square and contain multiple metallic connectors or pins on the underside. The CPU is inserted directly into a CPU socket, pin side down, on the motherboard.

Each motherboard will support only a specific type (or range) of CPU, so you must check the motherboard manufacturer's specifications before attempting to replace or upgrade a CPU in your computer. Modern CPUs also have an attached heat sink and small fan that go directly on top of the CPU to help dissipate heat.

Components of a CPU

Two typical components of a CPU are the following:

Top 5 CPU Related Questions

1.What is clock speed?
2. What is CPU socket?
3. What is register?
4. What is motherboard?
5. What is dual-core?







TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
DID YOU KNOW?
5 Best Valentines Day Ideas for Open Source Romantics

Because nothing says "I Love You" Like an open source app. Read More »

Guarding your Data against Cyber Attacks

In this new era of heightened stakes comes an increased need for a comprehensive security strategy. Let's take a look at how cyber-threats have... Read More »

The Great Data Storage Debate: Is Tape Dead?

Tape clearly is on the decline. But remember, legacy systems can hang for a shockingly long time. Read More »

QUICK REFERENCE
Network Fundamentals Study Guide

A network is a group of two or more computer systems or devices, linked together to share resources, exchange files and electronic communications.... Read More »

Computer Architecture Study Guide

This Webopedia  study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »

Webopedia Polls

The trend for the past two years has been for shoppers to spend more online during the holiday season. How do you typically shop for holiday... Read More »