What Is A CPU? Components, Types, Pricing, Explained!

The way the brain works is how a CPU works. Our brain sends signals with electrical impulses; surprisingly, a CPU works just like that—the CPU carry-outs instructions.

what is a cpu
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You can find a CPU in all your computing devices—smartphones, laptops, computers, TVs, etc. These devices need a processor to delegate their responsibilities. Let’s explore further what the CPU is all about. You will find everything you need to know about CPUs on this page.

What Is A CPU?

CPU is the abbreviation for the central processing unit. A central processing unit is responsible for everything to work within your device. It’s a processor that helps your computer perform such tasks. 

As said earlier, the CPU is the computer’s brain; it allows the computer to compute each action you do and display or serve it on your device. Every single program is made to be executed on a device, right? But the CPUs are the reason it can run those instructions.

Some might say that CPUs are also the heart of a computer. It gives instructions to every component connected to the computer, and everything runs through the CPU, like our heart pumping blood throughout our body. It can execute basic arithmetic operations and logic functions and controls specific actions. It is connected to the input and output, storage units, etc.

What Does A CPU Do?

The CPU simply does the calculations for you. In a more technical sense, the programming language is the starting point for a program. Then it will pass through the CPU, calculating the instructions given, creating a binary language (ones and zeros), and enabling it to perform right in the monitor.

In layman’s terms, the CPU processes all the instructions for you. If you are familiar with programming, you should know that so many complicated steps and sequences need to be written for just a single action. For example, after clicking on your menu bar, you will see many choices, right? That single action is written precisely, and the CPU has just calculated those written instructions for you. This is why everything about computers and programming is so technical.

This is also why many expensive devices are on the market exist because writing the programs combined with the physical product takes a lot of time and effort—all for the consumers to have precise results when using those.

How Does A CPU Work?

A processor starts with the program written; as soon as you do an action, it will be generated to the processor; your processor will execute, temporarily store it in the RAM, and then deliver the information right before our eyes. Depending on your clock speed, the amount of time it will take to perform such actions will still vary.

Some processors are multi-processors that are made for multitasking. Multi-processor core units allow you to do tasks simultaneously, like watching, typing, gaming, opening a new program, etc. The speed of our processor determines how we can perform tasks, if you are a heavy user, you will need a powerful processor.

In our digital age, a processor of a computer is very valuable. Most of us settle for more since this is where our life mainly revolves now, in front of a computer.

History Of CPUs

Before the actual invention of CPUs, it took the people behind it a lot of person-hours before launching the renowned microprocessors. There is more than we ever know about processors, but the list below is some of the most important events of microprocessor releases.

1981IBMThe Planar Breadboard was first used and made.
1984IBMIntroduced the Full AT motherboard form factor.
1985IBMIntroduced the Baby AT motherboard form factor.
1995IntelLaunched the ATX motherboard.
1997Intel, IBM, and DECPartnered together and developed the NLX form factor.
1997Intel and FICBoth released the first AGP-supported motherboard in the same year.
1997IntelIntroduced the microATX motherboard.
2001TQ-ComponentsIntroduced the UTX motherboard.
2001VIA TechnologiesIntroduced the Mini-ITX form factor.
2003PCI-SIGLaunched the PCI Express-standard motherboards.
2003VIA TechnologiesIntroduced the Nano-ITX form factor.
2004NvidiaIntroduced their SLI technology—capable of putting two video cards on a motherboard.
2004IntelLaunched the BTX, microBTX, and PicoBTX form factors.
2004VIA TechnologiesLaunched the Mobile-ITX form factor.
2006The microATX was able to have two video cards for video games.
2006SupermicroLaunched SWTX motherboard form factor.
2007VIA TechnologiesIntroduced their Pico-ITX form factor.
2007AMDLaunched the DTX and Mini-DTX form factor.
2010EVGALaunched the HPTX motherboard form factor.

Types Of CPUs

A CPU can have one, two, four, six, eight, and ten cores. Again, it will always depend on the intensity of our tasks when we use the computer. A deca core processor is one of the fastest processors you can have in a computer, which is the best option in today’s age.

By Number Of Cores

The number of cores identifies the possible and best opportunities for every intensity a computer user can do. The first 6 cores are for a single computer, while there are more cores that can possibly be used, there are computers with 12 up to 256 cores, which are used for more than one computer.

Single-CoreFor General Computer Tasks
Dual-CoreFor Low-End Gamers
Quad-CoreFor Mid-End Gamers
Hexa-CoreFor Mid-End To High-End Gaming, Heavy-Duty Editing & Processing Tasks
Octa-CoreFor High-End Gaming, Heavy-Duty Editing & Processing Tasks.
Deca-CoreFor Enthusiasts & Hardcore Gamers, Software & Processes That Are Highly Dependent On CPUs.
12, 14, And 16 Core ProcessorsFor Enthusiasts & Hardcore Gamers, Software & Processes That Are Highly Dependent On CPUs, Also Used In Low-End Servers.
32, 64, 128, And 256 Core ProcessorsFor Building High-End Server PCs And Also Used By Gamers Who Love To Flex Their Rigs.

Components And Parts Of A CPU

CPUs are one of the best human inventions. They have gone through decades of development to reach where they are today. The first CPUs were made from vacuum tubes, which were used for many things during the first decades of the technological revolution. And now, we don’t use it for CPU parts anymore. Here are some elements that CPUs use today:

Control Unit (CU)

Control Units are the central part of CPUs. This is where every action revolves—it brings in commands, decrypts, and executes the command. From its word, control, the control unit controls everything. The signal that the hardware fetches is also controlled by the control unit and brings the data around.

Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU)

The Arithmetic Logic Unit basically calculates the decisions of your device. Logic simply means reasonable. The ALU will make decisions that are reasonable for a more logical output. Your external devices make an action that gets computed by your ALU to be displayed on your device.


Registers are fast, small bits of memory located within the central processing unit. During processing, they are used to store small amounts of information that are used for the next steps of your actions. These registers can be the usual bits of information when doing a repetitive task.


The term “cache” is commonly used to refer to the fast RAM that is an integral part of most modern processors. It stores information and code that the CPU will likely use again, but only temporarily. As a result, the processing time is reduced since the CPU no longer holds up the process while waiting for data and instructions to be retrieved from RAM.


A bus is a speedy internal communication system. The CPU and other parts of the system communicate with one another through buses that carry both data and control signals, making the work of a computer easier. There are three types of buses used in a CPU—the address bus, the data bus, and the control bus.


The central processing unit (CPU) houses the system clock that keeps the computer running smoothly. The clock generates a regular electrical pulse that is used to synchronize all the parts, and it helps regulate a computer to work accurately. The frequency determines a CPU’s clock, and when you have a high-frequency clock, it can handle more work and still give you a smooth-running device.

All CPU Manufacturers

When we hear CPUs, most of us tend to think that their brand of it is either Intel or AMD. These two brands are the major and well-known manufacturers of processors but there are more manufacturers of CPUs out there.

AMD1 Line Goes Here
Intel1 Line Goes Here
SIS1 Line Goes Here
VIA1 Line Goes Here

How Much Does CPU Cost?

Just like a motherboard, a CPU’s cost will always depend. It must meet your requirements like the needs and budget. Technically, a good CPU can cost you around $100, and we’re talking about basic tasks like surfing the internet, playing low-end games, etc. But if we are to handle heavier tasks, it can cost you more or less $500.

There are also different types of CPUs, and the higher-end can cost you $1000, maximum, approximately. The thing you always have first to consider is your needs. A CPU must apply to whatever task you want to do because it relies on it heavily. So, take your time to review the different CPUs before buying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wrap Up

Don’t get confused, CPUs basically do these three things consecutively—it receives data, processes it, and then returns the outcomes as output. It has been one of the biggest inventions in the technological world, and it’s still being upgraded to the consumer’s needs and tastes. And don’t worry, there is for sure a perfect CPU for your need and budget. If you’re here just learning about CPUs or choosing what to buy, I do hope this helped you big time.

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Anna Bonilla
Anna Bonilla

Anna isn't just any ordinary Computer Hardware Expert, she's highly skilled and multi-talented. She's a graphic designer, a writer, and a social media expert. At ErrorBook, she helps her readers in understanding the purpose of different hardware components and also helps pick the best PC Parts for their money. She also loves babysitting her nephews, baking, and crafting coffee.

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