Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Types of CPUs(central processing units) & How do CPUs work?

What is a CPU?

The CPU is the computer’s brain. All computers utilize it to allocate and process tasks and manage operational activities.

CPU types are named by their data-processing chips. Many processors and microprocessors are available, with new powerhouses always being developed. CPU power allows computers to multitask. Before addressing CPU types, we should define certain key terminology.

Types Of CPUs

The processor or microprocessor defines CPUs:

  • Single-core processor: A microprocessor with one CPU on its die. Single-core processors run slowly, work on one thread, and perform the instruction cycle sequence once. They excel in general-purpose computing.
  • The cores of a multi-core processor execute instructions as if they were separate computers, even if they are physically placed on the same chip. Many computer programmes function better with a multi-core processor.
  • Embed processor: An embedded processor is a microprocessor designed for embedded systems. Small and power-efficient, embedded systems are incorporated in the CPU enabling immediate data access. Microcontrollers and microprocessors are embedded processors.
  • Dual-core processor: A dual-core processor has two independent microprocessors.
  • Quad-core processor: Four independent microprocessors make up a quad-core processor.
  • A multi-core CPU with eight independent microprocessors is called an octa-core.
  • A deca-core processor is an integrated circuit with 10 cores per die or package.

Key CPU terminology

A CPU has several parts, but these are crucial to its operation and understanding:

  • Memory caches are essential for information retrieval. Caches store recently used data for easy access. Caches store data in CPU processor chip memory to retrieve data faster than RAM. Caches can be made by software or hardware.
  • All computers have an internal clock that controls their speed and frequency. The clock sends electrical pulses to control CPU circuitry. The pulse delivery rate is called clock speed and is measured in Hertz (Hz) or megahertz (MHz). Setting the clock faster has traditionally increased processing speed.
  • Core: Cores are processors within processors. Cores read and execute programme instructions. Processors are categorised by core count. Multi-core CPUs process instructions quicker than single-core ones. For commercial purposes, “Intel Core” refers to Intel’s multi-core CPU range.
  • Threads: An operating system’s scheduler can separately manage and deliver the CPU shortest sequences of programmable instructions called threads. Multithreading allows numerous threads to conduct a computer process simultaneously. Intel’s patented multithreading for parallelization is hyper-threading.

Other CPU parts

The following are also common in current CPUs:

  • ALU: Performs all arithmetic and logical operations, including math equations and logic-based comparisons. Both types require computer activity.
  • Data flow between computer components is ensured by buses.
  • Operate unit: Intensive circuitry that sends electrical pulses to operate the computer system and execute high-level computer instructions.
  • Instruction register and pointer: Shows CPU’s next instruction set.
  • Memory unit: Controls RAM-CPU data flow. The memory unit also manages cache memory.
  • Registers: Built-in persistent memory for frequent, urgent data demands.

How do CPUs work?

CPUs require a repetitive command cycle managed by the control unit and computer clock for synchronisation.

The CPU instruction cycle governs CPU work. The CPU instruction cycle specifies how many times basic computing instructions will be repeated, depending on the computer’s processing power.

Here are three basic computer instructions:

  • Any memory retrieval triggers a fetch.
  • Decode: The CPU’s decoder converts binary instructions into electrical signals that interact with other CPU elements.
  • Computers execute programmes by interpreting and following their instructions.

Some computer owners have skipped the stages needed to increase processing speed, such as adding memory cores. Instead, these people speed up their computers by adjusting the clock. Overclocking is like “jailbreaking” cellphones to change their performance. Like jailbreaking a smartphone, such tampering might damage the device and is discouraged by computer manufacturers.

Leading CPU makers and their CPUs

In recent years, only a few significant companies have made CPU-supporting goods or software.

This sector is dominated by Intel and AMD. Different instruction set architectures are used. Intel processors employ CISC architecture. AMD CPUs use RISC architecture.

  • Intel sells processors and microprocessors in four series. Intel Core is its top line. Xeon CPUs are for offices and companies. Intel’s Celeron and Pentium series are slower and weaker than Core.
  • Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) sells CPUs and APUs. APUs are CPUs with customised Radeon graphics. AMD’s Ryzen CPUs are designed for video games and offer high-speed and performance. AMD has shifted from using Athlon processors as a high-end line to a basic computing option.
  • Arm: Arm leases its high-end CPU designs and other proprietary technologies to equipment manufacturers. Apple makes Arm-based processors for Mac CPUs instead of Intel chips. This is copied by other companies.

CPU/processor related concepts


Although “graphics processing unit” includes “graphics,” it doesn’t represent GPUs’ true purpose speed. It accelerates computer graphics due of its speed.

Originally used in PCs, smartphones, and video gaming consoles, the GPU is an electrical circuit. GPUs are being used for cryptocurrency mining and neural network training.


Computer science produced the microprocessor, a CPU small enough to fit on a chip, to continue miniaturising computers. Microprocessors are categorised by core count.

CPU cores are “the brain within the brain,” the CPU’s physical processing unit. Some microprocessors have multiple processors. A physical core is a CPU integrated onto a chip that only uses one socket, allowing other physical cores to share the same computing environment.

Output devices

Computing would be far more constrained without output devices to execute CPU instructions. Peripherals and other external devices boost a computer’s functionality.

Computer users utilise peripherals to communicate with their computers and get them to follow their commands. Computer keyboards, mouse, scanners, and printers are included.

Modern computers have more than peripherals. Video cameras and microphones are widely used input/output devices.

Use of power

Many concerns are affected by power use. One is multi-core processor heat and how to dissipate it to safeguard the computer CPU. For this reason, hyperscale data centres with thousands of servers have substantial air-conditioning and cooling systems.

Sustainability issues arise even when discussing a few machines rather than thousands. More powerful computers and CPUs demand more energy to run, often gigahertz (GHz).

Specialised chips

Artificial intelligence (AI), the biggest computing development since its inception, affects most computing settings. Speciality processors for AI and other complicated tasks are emerging in the CPU space:

  • The Tensor Streaming Processor (TSP) handles AI and ML workloads. Also suitable for AI work are the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-Core processor and the Intel Core i9-13900KS Desktop Processor with 24 cores.
  • Many video editors choose the Intel Core i7 14700KF 20-Core, 28-thread CPU. Others choose AMD’s greatest video editing CPU, the Ryzen 9 7900X.
  • The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D has 3D V-Cache to boost game graphics.
  • Any current AMD or Intel processor should be sufficient for Windows and multimedia website viewing.


Transistors are crucial to electronics and computing. The phrase is a blend of “transfer resistance” and the semiconductor component used to limit electrical current in a circuit.

Transistors are fundamental in computing. The transistor is the foundation of all microchips. In the CPU, transistors create the binary language of 0s and 1s that computers utilise to interpret Boolean logic.

The next CPU wave

Computer scientists constantly improve CPU output and usefulness. Future CPU projections:

  • New chip materials: Silicon chips have long dominated computing and electronics. New chip materials will boost performance in the next generation of processors (link outside ibm.com). Carbon nanotubes show excellent thermal conductivity through tubes 100,000 times smaller than a human hair, graphene has excellent thermal and electrical properties, and spintronic components study electron spin and could produce a spinning transistor.
  • Current CPUs employ a binary language, but quantum computing will change that. Quantum computing uses quantum mechanics, which has revolutionised physics, instead of binary language. Binary digits (1s and 0s) can exist in many settings in quantum computing. This data will be stored in multiple locations, making fetches easier and faster. Users will see a significant increase in computing speed and processing capability.
  • AI everywhere: As AI becomes more prevalent in the computing business and our daily lives, it will directly impact CPU architecture. Expect more AI functionality in computer hardware in the future. AI processing will become much more efficient. Additionally, processing speed will grow and devices will make real-time judgements independently. Cerebras reportedly introduced the “fastest AI chip in the world” as we wait for hardware implementation. The WSE-3 chip trains AI models with 24 trillion parameters. This mega-chip has 900,000 cores and four trillion transistors.

CPUs with strength and flexibility

Companies expect a lot from their machines. Those computers need CPUs with the processing power to meet today’s data-intensive business workloads.

Organisations need adaptable solutions. Smart computing requires equipment that can adapt to your objective. You can focus on your work with IBM servers’ strength and flexibility. Find IBM servers to achieve your organization’s goals today and tomorrow.

Agarapu Ramesh was founder of the Govindhtech and Computer Hardware enthusiast. He interested in writing Technews articles. Working as an Editor of Govindhtech for one Year and previously working as a Computer Assembling Technician in G Traders from 2018 in India. His Education Qualification MSc.


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