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What is CPU in Computers and What Does It Do?

what is cpu in computers

What is CPU in computers? As a computer user, you definitely have heard about CPU. This is something that every computer has. But do you know what a CPU really is and why it becomes such a vital part of a computer? This article will reveal all the important information about a CPU that you need to know.

What is a CPU?

So, what is CPU in computers? CPU stands for Central Processing Unit. We can also say that it is the brain of a computer. To put it simply, the main function of a CPU is to process the whole instruction that comes from the other parts of the computer, such as the programs and operating system.

What Does a CPU Do?

As what have been explained above, the CPU is responsible for processing instructions from a program installed in the computer. There are several steps in CPU processing, namely fetch, decode, and execute. 

In the first step, the CPU takes the instruction from the computer’s RAM. After that, the CPU will decode the instruction before it sends it to the other components. Finally, in the third step, the parts of the CPU will start executing the already decoded instruction.

The results of these three processes are the activities you usually do with your computers, such as opening a web browser, creating an Excel spreadsheet, or even typing on a Word document. 

Where Is It Located?

Now that you know the basic responsibility of a CPU, let’s find out more about the location of the CPU. When you see a laptop or computer, you might wonder, where is the location of the brain of the computer?

The CPU is placed on a special socket on the computer’s motherboard. In its throne, the CPU can connect with the other components in the PC and send instructions to them. Each component will have its own lane to connect with the CPU. The rule of thumb is the more direct connection a component has to the CPU, the better its performance will be.

Is It Important?

CPU is not the only component of a PC that can process instruction. GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) also has the same capability. In fact, many people prefer to take the GPU as the most important consideration when purchasing a new PC. They prefer to look at the power of the GPU instead of the CPU, So, can we still call CPU as the most essential part of a PC?

While it is true that there are other components that can perform processing functions, CPU is still very important. This is because the other processing components, such as the graphics card, only has specific processing capability. It is usually used to execute tasks that require intense graphic processing like games.

Meanwhile, the CPU is capable of doing general processing. It is able to process any tasks, including graphic-intense processing, even though it should be noted that GPU might be more suitable to process tasks related to intense graphics. Due to its general processing capability, the CPU is still the most important part of a computer. Even though a graphic card is better to perform some specific tasks, the whole system of a computer still relies on the CPU.

To get the best computer, you should not rely only on the CPU. The performance of a computer is also supported by other components, such as RAM and storage. Make sure that you have enough RAM, 8 GB is the minimum for today’s computer. Less than 8GB of RAM might not be able to support the whole performance of the computers. Furthermore, it is a good idea to invest on SSD storage. Even though it is more expensive, it has a faster processing time compared to the traditional HDD. 

Core and Cost

When you are about to purchase a computer, it is important to pay attention to the CPU specifications. Remember, CPUS are not created the same. Different manufacturers, features, components, and capabilities will affect the price of the computer. So, the question is, what should you look for when choosing a CPU?

The first one is the number of cores. CPUs only had a single core back then. Nowadays, modern CPUs usually come with dual or multiple cores. The number of cores determine how many instructions the CPU can perform at once. One core CPU can only perform a single core at a time. This is why older computers are slower compared to the computers that we have in this age. Since it can only process one data at a time, the processing time becomes very slow.

Now, imagine if it has 64 cores. Some high-end computers already come with 64 cores, while the cheaper ones come with around 6 cores. The more cores a CPU has, the more expensive the computer will be.

Another important thing to consider is the clock speed. If you see the word “Gigahertz (GHz)” on a computer advertisement, that is actually the clock speed. Clock speed determines the number of instructions a CPU can handle in one second. It means, the bigger the number is, the faster the processing speed of the CPU is.

However, you must be careful since the clock speed doesn’t tell the whole story. Due to the development in the other components, a 5 GHz computer produced in 2015 might still slower compared to a 3GHz computer produced in 2002.

If you are looking for a computer for gaming or design, the power of the CPU might not really matter. Powerful graphic processing is the determining factor for gaming computers. Hence, you might want to invest in a good GPU instead of splurging money to purchase a computer with the best CPU. While CPU is also important, there are some tasks that are best left for the graphic card.

Conclusion

It is safe to say that the CPU is the most important part of a computer. Even though a computer still needs another component to perform well, the CPU is still the primary part. There have been many improvements on modern CPUs that make it faster and more reliable. Looking at the rapid development of computer technology nowadays, we can definitely see more improvements in the upcoming future.

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