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.

WEBOPEDIA FACTOID
The world's first CPU was introduced by Intel in 1971. The Intel 4004 was a 4-bit CPU, clocked at 740 KHz and capable of executing up to 92,600 instructions per second. Five months after the Intel 4004, the Intel 8008 was introduced. This was the world's first 8-bit microprocessor.

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.

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?
What You Don't Read Can Hurt You

Does this sound familiar? An online service promises to help your small business cut costs, increase productivity, make your coffee and walk your... Read More »

Who's Moving Ahead in Cloud Computing?

The future remains, well, cloudy. But either way: Amazon, look out. Microsoft is gaining fast. Read More »

We Can't Give Up on Privacy!

Even new and emerging technologies that can make our lives easier, safer and healthier can jeopardize our privacy. Read More »

QUICK REFERENCE
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 »

How to Create a Desktop Shortcut to a Website

This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE). Read More »

Flash Data Storage Vendor Trends

Although it is almost impossible to keep up with the pace of ongoing product releases, here are three recent highlights in the flash data storage... Read More »