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central processing unit (CPU)

The central processing unit (CPU) is the central component of a computer. It is a microprocessor that monitors and controls the entire computer and its arithmetic operations, stores the results and intermediate results, and stocks the data required in each case for the arithmetic operations.

The central processing unit performs the data transfer and the logical and arithmetic operations. It consists of a control unit for controlling the operations to be executed and the arithmetic unit for the computational handling of the data and the storage of the data in the main memory or primary memory. The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the central microprocessor of a computer, it is located on the motherboard, either in a CPU socket or directly on the printed circuit board.

Structure of a CPU

Structure of a CPU

The CPU comprises the control unit for controlling and monitoring the instructions to be executed and a computational unit for the computational handling and logical linking of data and the primary memory. The control unit or instruction unit comprises the program and input/output control. Here commands are converted into circuits and the control impulses are given to all other components of the system (command execution).


basic principle of a computer, the EVA principle

basic principle of a computer, the EVA principle

The arithmetic logic unit (ALU) handles the arithmetic and logical operations of the data, which can be decimal calculations, fixed or floating point operations, Boolean algebra or other arithmetic operations. The main memory is closely connected to the control unit and arithmetic unit for holding the instructions and data used, and the input and output channels for transferring data between internal and external memory and vice versa. The control unit and arithmetic unit are connected internally in the CPU via data bus and control bus.

The computing power of CPUs

The computing power of CPUs is mainly determined by the bus width and clock frequency. 32- and 64-bit CPUs with clock frequencies of several gigahertz determine the current performance limits. Since performance increases with higher clock frequencies are only feasible to a limited extent and cause thermal problems, CPU manufacturers have moved towards developing CPUs with two and more processor cores, the dual-core process ors or multi-core processors, and also lowering the supply voltage of CPUs. These low and ultra-low voltage processors, ULV processors, have better Thermal Design Power (TDP), which provides much longer battery life for notebooks and tablets.

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Englisch: central processing unit - CPU
Updated at: 18.03.2018
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