A central processing unit, or simply CPU, is the electronic circuit that executes commands, in whole or in part, containing an operating system. The CPU performs such basic arithmetic, logical, processing, and output/ input operations defined by the instruction written into the application software.
The CPU can execute one instruction at a time or can run multiple programs at the same time. A CPU is often referred to as single-board computers (SBIC), multi-board computers (MBCs) or system on chip (SOC) machines. The word CPU also has a broader meaning. It can also be used to refer to a group of processors, or computers that are linked together in a network or computer server.
The typical computer CPU includes a microprocessor (the software running inside the CPU), random access memory (RAM), register file, random access memory (RAMD) for execution of instructions stored in the ROM and control processor chips, and hardware interface for communication with the user-programmable computer interface (PCI). The standard PC architecture is a modular design with various models available depending on the type of computer, its price and the desired applications. There are many manufacturers of computer hardware supporting various operating systems including Windows, Linux, Solaris, AIX, Motorola, Sun Microsystems and others. Some of the famous computer brands are Dell, Compaq, E Machines, Gateway, HP, iplot, Toshiba, Sun Microsystems, IBM and Microsoft.
The word CPU was first used in the computing industry in the 1970s as a synonym for the microprocessor, which is a small computer system having a single processor fixedly integrated within a unit. In the later years, the term CPU became synonymous with the central processing unit or simply central processing unit. Today, the term CPU is often used interchangeably with computer system bus, small form-factor mainframe computer system bus, or virtual personal computer (VPC).
A typical CPU has multiple physical elements, including: a microprocessor, registers, microprocessor data cache, central processing unit (CPU), cache, bus controllers, interfaces, input/output devices which perform I/O operation. The total architecture of a CPU consists of a number of elements working together to execute programs stored in main memory. The role of a CPU is to execute instructions requested by the user and run the computer system. The execution engine or microprocessor is responsible for executing the instructions received from the software and controlling the actions of the PC hardware.
A chip manufactured from semiconductor material like silicon finds use in a CPU. The term circuit design also pertains to the process of designing circuits containing components like microprocessors and microcapsules. A chip based on a microprocessor architecture is called microchip technology. It is a family of microprocessors working together to execute program instructions stored in main memory. The term mother board is used for a CPU’s board that connects to the CPU and other electronic components. Motherboards are also called CPU blocks.
The modern cpus (a general term for a family of standardized embedded processors) are designed to execute instructions per second using a set of general-purpose microprocessors running in co-processors. The motherboards of the modern cpus are more advanced compared to the earlier motherboards. The features of a CPU today can be summarized as follows: It has an instruction decoders and interpreters, memory controller, microprocessor and boot ROM. Motherboards attached to the CPU have additions like a built-in flash memory, heat sink, fans, etc. Modern chipsets are more compact than their predecessors.
There are two main types of cpus: desktop and server. Desktop computers are generally smaller and meant for regular use. They have a keyboard, mouse and monitor, and they run on the power from the main power module. On the other hand, servers are large-scale computers. They have many components, usually including a microprocessor, an operating system, a storage engine, a memory management unit, and a microprocessor-security device. They are also connected through a network or a LAN.
Today, a CPU includes an integrated circuit, microcontroller, microprocessor, instruction set architecture, boot ROM, random access memory (RAM), non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM), hardware serial bus controllers, input and output devices, the hardware interface and interrupt controller. The input and output peripherals include keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer, speakers, USB, Ethernet and power plug. There is no central processing unit in a CPU. The architecture of a CPU is divided into three core processes: