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A central processing unit is the electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetic, logical, control and input/output operations specified by the instructions. The term has been used in the computer industry at least since the early 1960s. Traditionally, the term "CPU" refers to a processor, more specifically to its processing unit and control unit , distinguishing these core elements of a computer from external components such as main memory and I/O circuitry.

An Intel 80486DX2 CPU, as seen from above.
Bottom side of an Intel 80486DX2, showing its pins.

A central processing unit (CPU) is the electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetic, logical, control and input/output (I/O) operations specified by the instructions. The term has been used in the computer industry at least since the early 1960s. Traditionally, the term "CPU" refers to a processor, more specifically to its processing unit and control unit (CU), distinguishing these core elements of a computer from external components such as main memory and I/O circuitry.

The form, design and implementation of CPUs have changed over the course of their history, but their fundamental operation remains almost unchanged. Principal components of a CPU include the arithmetic logic unit (ALU) that performs arithmetic and logic operations, processor registers that supply operands to the ALU and store the results of ALU operations, and a control unit that orchestrates the fetching (from memory) and execution of instructions by directing the coordinated operations of the ALU, registers and other components.

Most modern CPUs are microprocessors, meaning they are contained on a single integrated circuit (IC) chip. An IC that contains a CPU may also contain memory, peripheral interfaces, and other components of a computer; such integrated devices are variously called microcontrollers or systems on a chip (SoC). Some computers employ a multi-core processor, which is a single chip containing two or more CPUs called "cores"; in that context, single chips are sometimes referred to as "sockets". Array processors or vector processors have multiple processors that operate in parallel, with no unit considered central. There also exists the concept of Virtual CPUs which are an abstraction of dynamical aggregated computational resources.

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CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT ( C P U )

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What is CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT (CPU)? What does CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT (CPU) mean?

What is CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT (CPU)? What does CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT (CPU) mean? Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under ...

Central Processing Unit

Working of Computer System ▻ The Central Processing Unit ▻ Functional Units of the CPU The computer performs basically five major operations or functions.