The technology world is interesting but can be confusing if acronyms are used. When shopping for PCs, the specifications highlighted are about the CPU; how powerful and fast it is for different tasks. It is important to check on these specifications to ensure they match your intended tasks; if you are a writer, you may not need a powerful CPU like for programmer. The specifications have a lot to do with profession and your intended use.
There is a lot inside the shiny device (such as a laptop), the performance is largely dependent on the CPU. However, it is difficult to tell, which computer best suits your needs.
If you are not an expert or well acquainted with the technology world, it can be overwhelming when you have to choose between i3 and i7, Intel and AMD, or dual and quad-core.
What is a CPU?
Before you think of its functions in a computer, you need to know what it is. There are several processing units in a computer but a Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the smart guy. All manner of commands and processes run through this central device; it is usually square and placed over the motherboard. It coordinates and controls all other components of the motherboard and internal processes; when you click anything on your computer or press any button; it is considered a command. The instructions are sent to the CPU for processing; it assigns the task to specific components of the computer, which reports to the processor when the task is complete.
All actions, calculations, and running of any programs are performed in the CPU. User-input through keyboard or voice, for example, are stored temporarily in the RAM, which channels the instructions to the CPU for execution. The primary function of the RAM is to decode input messages to computer language and share it with the processor. The processor organizes tasks based on priority and resources required. Failure of the CPU paralyses a computer’s actions; a computer will not start with a failed or missing processor.
How it works
Technology advancement has not spared the design and functions of a processor. Computers are required to perform more difficult calculations and run multiple tasks in business industry and corporate offices. The need for sleek and less bulky computers is also on the rise; all these are market demands in the processor world because a computer is all about the processor. While processors are required in different industries for different functions, the advancements revolve on three basic steps of processor functionality; fetch, decode, and execute.
The first fetching role is receiving of instructions. The computer language of numerals, which may not make sense to ordinary people, is used. These instructions form a small part of an operation and are represented in numerals passed from the RAM. The CPU makes sense of the sequence and knows which one comes next. The Program counter (PC) temporarily holds the instruction address before storage in the instruction Register (IR). The final part of fetching involves increment of the PC length to allow the instruction’s address.
After fetching and storage of information in the IR, the instruction needs to be decoded. It is therefore, passed to a circuit called the Instruction decoder. The CPU’s decoding stage allows for conversion of instruction into signals that will be then passed to other parts of the CPU for action.
Execution is the final step where decoded instructions are delivered to their appropriate destinations of the CPU. The CPU register holds the written results pending referencing and later changes. This is a complex version of the memory function in a basic calculator.
Single and Multiple Cores
Initially, CPUs only had a single core limiting them to specific sets of tasks. After pushing them to their limits, manufacturers switched to using dual-core processors to improve the performance of computers. The advancement of CPU technology has enabled quicker computer processes to very great speeds. Today, there are multi-core processors such as quad and even octo-core.
A dual-core processor has two separate processors on a single chip to help divide tasks and run them simultaneously. Many cores work the same way to distribute tasks and improve the overall performance of the CPU.
It is of vital importance to learn the operation of CPUs and differentiate different brands with their capabilities. Today, there are many options available with high-level specifications forcing you to making an informed decision on your preferences. Before you purchase you PC, it would be important to identify the specifications you need or prefer.
32 bit vs 64 bit
Since processors receive chunks of data rather than constant flow, it is limited by the amount of the chunks. 32-bit processors served their time as very reliable sizes but with the more need for improvement and software demands for speed, computers can now handle 4GB RAM. With this came the need for expanding the processor to 64-bit and even 86-bit.
Portable vs Desktop
Old computers were traditionally huge that relied on constant supply of electricity. With the rapid advancement of reduction in transistor size, came the introduction of mobile devices and the rise of laptops and smartphones. Today, small portable gadgets can still be as useful as the traditional desktop. The mobile processors, for example, are optimized to equal the performance of most large PCs. They are also able to sustain charge and consume minimum power.