What is a CPU and what does it do?


CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the hardware within a computer system which carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations of the system. On large machines, CPUs require one or more printed circuit boards. On PCs and small workstations, the CPU is housed in a single silicon chip called a microprocessor.The CPU itself is an internal component of the computer. Modern CPUs are small and square and contain multiple metallic connectors or pins on the underside. The CPU is inserted directly into a CPU socket, pin side down, on the motherboard.

Different types of CPUs

Two typical components of a CPU are the following:

The arithmetic logic unit (ALU), which performs arithmetic and logical operations.

The control unit (CU), which extracts instructions from memory and decodes and executes them, calling on the ALU when necessary.