What is a CPU and what is it for?

In the computer world we often use many technical words known as 'jargon'. In this case it's time to see what is a CPU and what is it for?

What is the CPU?

The word CPU refers to Central processing unit, and comes from English “Central Processing Unit” or what is the same: CPU.

When we talk about the CPU we mean the internal microprocessor of our computer, although there are also people who use that term incorrectly to refer to the whole of the PC.

It is an incorrect way because inside the tower of the PC there are other components that are not only the CPU, although looking at it in a more objective way we could also understand that the tower is the CPU because in the end it is also the processing unit, but It is incorrect.


What is inside the CPU?

Before explaining what a CPU, microprocessor or processor is for, depending on how we want to mention it, it would be logical to explain a little above what it consists of, to understand it a little better.

The CPU is the main component for calculating operationsDepending on what operation it must do, it will do so based on a table of instructions.

Example: Sum; Subtraction; Multiplication

This ability to Accepting different types of instructions and executing them is what makes our computer able to function.

AMD Ryzen 3000 Die Shot cpu

The programs are written with a language, that the compiler translate so that he processor can do the calculations and process the data that make it possible for them to work. For this the processor also you need the use of a main memory, which is RAM, where it stores instructions and data. It also manages the control of the doors input and output I / O to other devices, such as graphics cards or GPU (we will go deeper into this in later post)

Now that we begin to understand that within the CPU.

In it there is not a single component, but are several sets of circuits made up of electronic components, although we will explain these in another moment.

The microprocessors are made with miniaturized integrated circuits inside. Since the 70s, single-chip microprocessors have gained ground in the marketplace to completely replace multi-chip processors. This means that today it is common to call them microprocessors or CPUs.

intel ice lake and 10nm cpu

This is because with the advancement of microelectronics and the processes of militarization, processors were increasingly capable of having a greater number of different components inside, maintaining the area. Over the years we have gone from the processors of about 2300 transistors as in the case of the 8008, to having about 3.600.000.000 in The Intel Core i9-9900K.

Yes, I imagine that you all have in mind the typical 3-pin transistor, although those of a microprocessor are based on the same principle, they are built differently. Something that I will also explain in a later post, since it requires a fairly extensive explanation.

What is a CPU for?

The normal operation of a CPU is to execute a sequence of instructions and process the data with them, which are requests made by the “programs”.

Among all these tasks there are 4 that always work on modern microprocessors. These are based on the Von Neumann architecture, and use these operations: fetch, decode, execute and writeback; or what is the same: read, decode, execute and write.

With these tasks, the processor is able to make the magic of the programs exist, and that is thanks to four simple steps:

von neumann cpu architecture

Other CPU functions

Send and receive control / sync signals from the input and output buses. This is used to know the memory cell where to read or write the data and instructions.

Finally, say that this post is just one of many, but that it was a good way to start getting to know this magnificent world. We will expand the information in the future.

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