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
- Watch Datamation's editor James Maguire moderate roundtable discussions with tech experts from companies such as Accenture, Dell, Blue Jeans Network, Microsoft and more »
It's not just your lawnmower and household tools that your neighbor won't return. Our top picks include everything from updating device firmware... Read More »Interesting Times: Transformation in the IT Channel
Business transformation will remain the buzzword of the moment as channel firms continue to assess the direction of their companies in the age of... Read More »What is a Virtual Private network (VPN)?
Companies and organizations will use a VPN to communicate confidentially over a public network and to send voice, video or data. Read More »
From wacky alarm clocks to lecture hall tools and after class entertainment, these Android apps are a good fit for a student's life and budget. Read More »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 »