Central Processing Unit

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is essentially an integrated chip where all the logic processing is done and binary coding is parsed. Typically referred to as the ‘brains of a computer’, this component is one of the most important in a functional computer system. (that with RAM, a Motherboard and etc).


Most common personal computers (the tower) uses a general consumer level CPU. The two manufacturers of CPU’s in modern technology are Intel and AMD. Intel is known for being one of the first companies to make fast and efficient CPU’s back in the day, and still currently known for their great architecture. AMD which recently came to the competition (about less than a decade) didn’t really meet up until they started manufacturing high-end CPU’s, trying to catch up with Intel (although, they have a limited amount of models in their CPU line when it comes to high-end, thus practical for budget builds).

The processing unit you would find in a laptop is to be much smaller and weaker to their person computer sibling. This is to limit the power usage, heating and sometimes the price of a laptop (but you can expect near performance results, just don’t expect anything equivalent to a personal computer for the same price).

The CPU in a phone is much smaller and weaker than a laptop, thus the reason for having a mobile operating system and not a full fledged operating system you would find on a PC (also the fact that they HAVE to be portable, so not having a keyboard or mouse heavily limits the user from using Windows 7 on a phone). Mobile operating systems are supposed to be extremely light weight (as in packaged with only essential software and firmware) as well as efficient and easy for the consumer to use. Because of this custom operating system, phones do not have to have great specifications or features.

CPU’s in practical uses like TV’s, digital clocks, microwaves, refrigerators or even toasters don’t necessarily have to be fast or great. Depending on the manufacturer, these are commonly custom made for the appliance they’re used in, and the speed or architecture varies depending what the function that appliance does.


The Central Processing Unit’s modern day speed are measured in Gigahertz (GHz) which is an acronym for a billion (giga) cycles per second (hertz). Before, CPU’s were measured in Megahertz (MHz) because of the limited technology, and the more cycles per second there was, the faster they were. Now in modern day, architecture is what really determines the speed of a CPU. The only reason for a system to have more cycles per second is:

  • That if that CPU does not have a specific architecture.
  • There are multiple models within the same architecture line and those higher-models have a higher clock rate.
  • If you happen to be buying a single threaded CPU (which is obviously completely outdated).


A Central Processing Unit’s speed and form differs depending on that computer system. In a typical rig, a specific CPU form called ‘socket type’ is needed in order for the builder to even place the CPU on the motherboard. For example, a AM3+ CPU (created by AMD) can go in a AM3 or AM3+ socket motherboard, but cannot go in a LGA 1150 (created by Intel). This is probably the most common requirement to check before buying a processor.

A smaller thing to check is the compatibility of the CPU along with the selected RAM. Assuming that your RAM’s type (DDR type that is) is the same as your motherboard, it’s a good idea to get your CPU within the same launch date as your RAM. To be even more safe, motherboard manufacturers include lists of what CPU’s they can support along with the RAM, but generally, the DDR type will matter if your CPU is not bottlenecking, less than being non compatible. CPU with RAM compatibility issues are not a common problem, as long as the motherboard can support the CPU and RAM type, it should work. Like I said, check your motherboard’s manufacturer website for a list of products it can support.

Hardware | Computers

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