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.
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
- Watch Datamation's editor James Maguire moderate roundtable discussions with tech experts from companies such as Accenture, Dell, Blue Jeans Network, Microsoft and more »
Experts believe that Apple Pay and other competitive payment systems will be far more secure than cards, even cards equipped with EMV chips. Read More »Internet of Things Shaping IT's Future
To make the IoT both work and pay off, IT is juggling upgrading and building app-centric networks, mapping out new data center architectures and... Read More »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 »
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 »