If you are new to the world of tech and computers and looking to learn more about it, you have come to the right corner. One acronym that often pops up when you look up on computers or electronics is CPU. What does a CPU mean? And what does it do? Don’t you worry, we got you covered.
Introducing… A CPU
This small yet mighty square chip is often located on the device’s motherboard (mainboard) and it interacts with the other hardware parts such as RAM (memory) and GPU (graphics card) to operate your computer. Make no mistake, the CPU may be referred to as the brain but it is distinctly separated from the memory. This means you can easily upgrade this part, as long as your motherboard supports it.
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So what does a CPU do for your computer? A CPU is responsible for calculating, processing and executing instructions. It goes through a process that is broken down into three key stages; Fetch, Decode and Execute. The CPU fetches the instruction from the RAM, decodes the instructions and then executes the instructions using relevant parts of the CPU.
In simpler terms, it functions like a brain. For instance, by double-clicking the Google Chrome shortcut on our display - the CPU processes our instruction and executes them by opening up Google for us. Similar to us picking up a cup, we first think of picking up a cup and our brain will send the message to our hands to take the action.
Cores, Threads And Clock Speed
For instances, when you open a Microsoft Word application - this process creates a thread to show a loading circle that spins continuously while the second thread loads the information (the quick access toolbar, page) and presents it to you.
Clock speed is another feature to look out for in a CPU. Often measured with “gigahertz” (GHz), this tells us how many instructions your CPU can process in a second. Clock speed often comes into play when we are comparing CPUs from the same generation or family. By looking at the GHz, you can tell that the higher number portrayed for clock speed, the faster the processor is. That said, this does not mean that a CPU from 2016 with 5GHz is going to perform as fast as a CPU from 2020 with 3GHz
The Importance Of A CPU
By handling all these tasks, the CPU will tend to heat up as well, and that’s where you’ll need a cooler to keep the CPU’s temperature low so it can perform optimally. There are multiple types of coolers - fan coolers, all-in-one liquid coolers, water block coolers, and the list goes on. It’s up to you to decide which cooler works best for your budget and PC case as some can get quite big
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Even so, there is only so much your computer can do with just speed alone. No matter how powerful your processor is, it cannot render the latest 3D animations and store information. Thus, only with a good combination of graphics card, RAM, cooler and CPU, can you achieve a good computer system performance.
In a nutshell, a CPU is an important part of your computer system but solely having this single chip does not equate to good overall system performance. It will definitely help to increase your computer’s performance in daily operations especially, with the help of multiple cores, threads and high clock speed.