"What is CPU ? It's Called The 'Brain' of Your Computer!"

You maybe wondering - What is CPU (Central Processing Unit)?

Actually, the CPU also known as Microprocessor is the brain of your computer. It responsible for everything your computer does. Hence, the CPU will process almost all the instructions necessary for your computer to perform its duties and it will affect the overall speed and performance of the computer.

Normally, when you buy a CPU it is in a box. Inside the box contains the CPU, heat sink and CPU fan. The followings are the pictures of Intel CPU (left), AMD CPU (middle), and heat sink & fan(right).

Computer CPU and fan

CPU Brand: Intel and AMD.

The two major manufacturers of CPUs for personal computers are Intel and AMD. Then, people always ask, which is better? The truth is that most users won't see any difference between the two because both of them are more or less same. And since both companies introduce faster versions of most of their CPU models several times a year, this month's performance leader will be a mid-range version a year from now.

To see which CPU is installed in your system, go to the Windows System Properties utility. If your computer is running Windows XP, all you have to do is follow these steps:

  • On the computer desktop, right-click My Computer and choose Properties.
  • From the System Properties dialog box displayed, click the General tab.

System Properties Dialog Box

  • The System: section of this dialog box tells you which version of Windows you're running;
  • The Registered to: section tells you who you are (or, rather, how your version of Windows is registered);
  • The Computer: section tells which type of processor and how much memory (RAM) you have installed.

The table below shows the both CPUs families:

Manufacturer Processor Type Recommended Usage
Intel Celeron Basic computing," e-mail, home computers*
  Celeron M Laptop (notebook) computers
  Celeron D "Value-priced PCs"*
  Pentium 4 Digital home and office applications"* Image processing, games and multimedia
  Pentium M High performance laptop computers
  Pentium D (Dual-core) Multimedia entertainment, digital photo editing, running multiple applications, supporting multiple users
  Core Solo Very-high-performance laptop computers
  Core Duo (Dual-core) "Multiple demanding applications such as graphics-intensive games or serious number-crunching programs-while downloading music or running security programs in the background."*
  Core 2 Duo High-performance energy-efficient desktop and mobile computers
  Xeon Business applications, including Application servers, e-mail servers, Internet servers
  Itanium "Business-critical computing … with mainframe-class reliability"*
AMD Sempron "Everyday computing with built-in security"*
  Athlon 64 "Leading edge performance with simultaneous 32-bit and 64-bit computing"*
  Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Running multiple applications simultaneously
  Athlon 64 FX Running "the next generation of digital media and games"*
  Turion 64 "Optimized to deliver AMD64 performance in thinner and lighter notebook PCs"*
  Turion 64 X2 Multi-tasking, long battery life and compatibility with wireless and graphics technologies in high-performance laptops
  Opteron (multi-core) Servers and workstations running simultaneous 32- and 64-bit computing
*Quotes are taken from the official Web site of the product listed.

CPU Speed

The speed of CPU is measured by frequency in Megahertz (MHz) or Gigahertz (GHz) with 1 GHz equals to 1000 MHz.

Example: 1.0GHz, 1.1 GHz, 1.13 GHz, 1.2 GHz, 1.3 GHz, 1.4 GHz, 1.5 GHz, 1.6 GHz, 1.7GHz, 1.8GHz, 1.9 GHz 2.0 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.2 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 2.4GHz, 2.53GHz, 2.6GHz, 2.8GHz, 3.0GHz, 3.2GHz, 3.4GHz, 3.6GHz or whatever latest.

As a conclusion, you should be able to answer the question - What is CPU? - The core component of your computer's operation. Everything else -disk drives, keyboard, mouse, monitor, and Internet connection, among others -is there either to provide instructions to the CPU, respond to data from the CPU, or both.

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