A CPU is the ‘brain’ of a computer. It takes data input and converts it to data output through circuitry inside the computer. pcdesigner is the acronym for central processing unit. The CPU has two main parts: the Control Unit and the Arithmetic Logic Unit. Since the CPU is the brain, it is very important to the operation and performance of your computer.
The CPU control unit uses electrical signals that tell the computer to execute stored program procedures. The control unit is not executing the program procedures, it controls the sequence of procedure execution and it communicates with the arithmetic log unit and the computer system memory. The data input comes from primary memory and secondary memory sources. Primary memory is temporary and is the computer’s RAM (Read Access Memory) and processor cache. Secondary memory is permanent, or semi-permanent, and is the computer’s hard drive, DVD drive, and CD-ROM drive.
The Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) is where four types of arithmetic operations occur: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It is also where logical operations occur: a comparison of numbers, letters and some characters. For example, does 1 = 2? The CPU processes the operation outcome(s) and takes action. Its processes tell you whether or not the hotel room you want to reserve is available, whether or not the online book store has inventory of your selection; and more.
The logical operations test for three conditions: equal to (comparing two values and testing for equality); greater than (comparing two values to see if one is greater than the other); less than (comparing two values to see if one is less than the other). More complex logical operations can also be tested: for example, greater than or equal to; and less than or equal to.
The CPU Register is used for temporary data storage on the CPU itself rather than part of system memory. That allows the CPU to manage and access the registers very quickly. The registers hold and transfer data, and handle arithmetic and logical operations.
Registers handle certain functions as they receive data. These functions include accumulation – or running totals – of arithmetic values; address registers where memory address information on instruction is stored; storage registers where data coming to, or from, the system memory can be temporarily stored; and general purpose storage.
So what is a CPU’s job?
The process starts with the data input. The hard drive is the permanent, secondary storage. The motherboard has limited space or capacity. The ALU does the work. The RAM is the temporary, primary storage for faster data access. The registers are also for temporary storage for faster access and for faster logical operations.
Working together, the CPU takes the data input and generates the data output. The CPU can optimize its operations by using a number of memory or storage locations. The faster your CPU, the faster your computer operates.
The key to processors is speed. The faster your processor, the faster your computer can operate. However you need to consider the CPU in relation to the computer’s motherboard (in fact, if buying components separately to build your own computer, those two components are often sold as a CPU Motherboard bundle). CPU and motherboard types must be matched; check the manufacturer’s specifications before replacing a CPU or motherboard or before building a new computer.