A CPU is also known as a processor, central processing unit or microprocessor. It is basically a square or rectangular shaped silicon chip with millions of tiny transistors. There are hundreds of short, round metal connector pins on the bottom and back. The central processing unit (CPU) handles all instructions from the computer’s software and hardware. The importance of this component is largely realized when it comes to the tasks you want to perform. With each new CPU version released, laptops become faster, more powerful, and more efficient. Essentially, the faster the CPU = the faster the laptop. Although it is often referred to as the “brain of the computer”. In reality, it is more like the heart because (like the human heart) it is important to the performance of a laptop system.
Trying to figure out all these numbers, abbreviations and other technical specifications when buying a new laptop can be daunting. This guide briefly describes the different parts of the CPU and their functions.
CPU heating and cooling system
Like other components on a laptop, the CPU will heat up even after running for a short while. Heat sinks and cooling fans are usually mounted on top of the CPU to keep them cool and running smoothly. Some laptops come bundled with cooling components for RAM, GPU and CPU. Advanced cooling systems include: Water cooling kits, which you can find in gaming and workstation-class laptops.
TDP measures the maximum power (watts) consumed by the CPU and is another technical term for a laptop’s CPU. It ultimately determines the power efficiency of a laptop. Unlike desktop CPUs, mobile CPUs need to strike a balance between performance and power consumption. This is an important indicator to determine how cool a laptop can stay during use.
Description of the CPU’s internal components
The 3 main parts of a CPU are the ALU, CU and the memory unit. Since the 1970s, these components have been integrated into the overall design of the CPU to the point that it is difficult to identify them externally.
This is a basic CPU parts list schematic.
CPU main modules and functions
The Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) performs mathematical, logical and decision-making operations. It can be divided into the Arithmetic Unit (responsible for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). The power and efficiency of the CPU depends on the design of the ALU.
The Control Unit (CU), which controls all processor operations. Here, the CPU reads and interprets requests from memory and converts them into a series of signals (binary). It then sends the operations to the various parts of the laptop as instructed. the CU calls the ALU to perform the necessary calculations. It also coordinates all input/output devices to transmit or receive instructions.
The main job of the memory unit is to store data or instructions and intermediate results. It is divided into main memory and auxiliary memory to provide data to the other units of the CPU. It allows the CPU to perform functions required by programs such as the operating system without interrogating the RAM.
Another element of the CPU not shown in the diagram is the transistor. In order to perform calculations, binary information (ones and zeros) is stored in these microscopic switches. They control the current depending on whether the switch is open or closed. Signals turn off and on different combinations of transistors to perform calculations. A very thin silicon chip can contain hundreds of millions of transistors.
The main function of the CPU is to get requests from programs, applications, and peripheral devices (such as keyboards, mice, and printers) and interpret their requirements. It then executes the request, or outputs the information to the display.
As we have said from the beginning, the CPU is like a very efficient calculator. Every operation you perform on your laptop must go through this important component. In the process of decoding data, the CPU performs four basic steps.
Fetch. Requests are stored in memory, and each request has its own address. In this step, the processor fetches the address from the program counter, which is responsible for the request that the CPU should execute next.
Decode. In this step, the program to be executed is processed into assembly code, which is then decoded into binary instructions.
Execute. Here, one of three things happens: 1) The CPU uses the ALU to perform a calculation. 2) The CPU moves data from one memory location to another. 3) Or the CPU jumps to a different address.
Next instruction. In the last step, the CPU gives feedback after executing the request and writes the output to memory. Once the instruction is completed, it closes all lines and then goes to fetch the next instruction, ends the execution phase, and then repeats the above steps.
Cache is a fast memory that buffers between RAM and CPU. This is like a temporary storage place for all the data on the CPU. the front side bus (FSB) of the CPU is connected to the RAM on the motherboard.
It is stored in the CPU’s cache, which is faster than RAM because it is physically close to the CPU’s processor. This setting allows the CPU to take requests out of memory, thus greatly increasing the speed of the laptop.
There are three levels of cache. On the other hand, whether the CPU has an L2 or L3 cache is a reference to the CPU’s onboard memory. It determines the speed of that on-board memory during processing. The more cache you have, the faster the CPU will perform.
REGISTER is just a small amount of data storage that can help perform certain CPU operations. But it is not a cache.
CPU’s multi-core processing power
The speed at which a CPU can process data is also affected by the number of cores it has.
A CPU contains at least one processor or “Core”, which is the chip inside the CPU that performs calculations. In the early days, CPUs had only one core. This limited the computer to a set of tasks, which made calculations slower and more time-consuming.
Multi-core CPUs solved this time constraint by including multiple processor cores on a single chip. Often, by increasing the number of cores, a CPU can handle multiple processes simultaneously, making it more efficient.
Most modern CPUs have at least two processors in a so-called dual-core CPU. CPUs are also available in quad-core, hex-core, and octa-core configurations. Quad-core processors can perform tasks such as video editing almost twice as fast as dual-core chips.
It’s true that multiple cores will greatly increase the speed of your laptop. But this is only true if the programs you are running are optimized to take advantage of the extra features.
The power of the CPU determines how fast a software program can run. More cores means the CPU can do more work. CPUs with DUAL, TRIPLE or QUAD cores will have a significant impact on the processing power of the laptop you choose. The best ones are Intel’s Core i5 series CPUs.
Single Core CPUs
These are the oldest type of CPUs. Since they can only start one request at a time, they are not very good for multitasking. If you often run more than one application at a time, you will notice a dramatic drop in performance. Clock speed greatly affects the performance of these types of CPUs (we will discuss clock speed in detail later).
This CPU has two cores and thus has the performance of two CPUs. A dual-core CPU can handle multitasking more efficiently than a single-core CPU: if you call multiple applications, it can launch them simultaneously without having to switch back and forth between different data streams. However, in order to take advantage of this technology, the operating system and the programs running on it must have a special code called SMT (Simultaneous Multithreading Technology) written on top of them.
These CPUs perfect the dual-core technology. They replace them by adding two other cores to the CPU design (four in total). Quad-core CPUs allow for greater multitasking. However, just like dual cores, you won’t feel the difference unless the CPU program being run has SMT code written on it. And, that doesn’t mean that only one request will complete faster. Instead, your laptop will feel more responsive when you start multiple requests at once.
Computer CPU speed
Clock speed – Once upon a time, frequency (clock speed or clock rate) was the most important performance metric for CPUs. Clock speed measures how fast a CPU can run and indicates how many operations it can perform in one second (CPU cycle).
Clock speed used to be measured in Hertz (Hz). However, due to the speed increase brought about by the additional CPU cores, it is now measured in gigahertz (GHz).
Clock speed is useful for comparing CPUs in the same family. Let’s say you are comparing two laptops and dual-core Kaby Lake i5 CPUs, one with a clock rate of 2.2 GHz and the other with a base frequency of 2.5 GHz. When both are running at the “maximum acceleration frequency”, the latter will perform faster.
The clock speed determines the capability of the CPU, but not necessarily the processing power of the laptop. What does this mean?
A CPU with a clock speed of 2GHz can process 2 billion instructions per second. However, doubling it to 4GHz will not necessarily double the processing speed of the laptop.
Unless the laptop has two CPUs working side-by-side, it will then be able to process instructions twice per second, thus greatly increasing system performance.
In addition to clock speed, there are other components that determine how fast a laptop’s CPU can perform tasks. Add Hyper-Threading to the mix and for faster laptops, the CPU can perform more tasks at once.
Hyperthreading – a “thread” (like a word we use when talking about caching) is a stream of data.
Remember, a single processor can only execute one instruction at a time. So, if you are running multiple programs. Each thread that enters the processor must be scheduled and executed separately by the kernel. This can cause you to notice delays when you are executing multiple tasks and opening multiple programs.
Hyper-Threading is a technology that helps each processor core to schedule and allocate resources to two data threads at a time. Thus, a dual-core CPU can “virtualize” the other two cores, giving it the functionality of four processing cores.
In case you missed it: virtualization means that a CPU with only two cores works as if it had four. Similarly, under virtualization, a quad-core CPU will process data as if it had eight processors.
To understand this explanation in more depth, let’s look at Intel’s Core i chips. From the lowest to the most powerful: there is Core i3, i5 and i7. Core i3 CPUs are dual-core chips. core i5 can be dual-core or quad-core chips, while Core i7 is a quad-core chip.
The Intel Core i5 CPUs differ from the Core i3 and i7 in that they do not support Hyper-Threading.
Note: Certain applications and software are optimized to take advantage of these technologies in what is called multi-threading. However, the performance of the physical core is much better than the virtual core.
A brief history of CPU development
The 4004 was the world’s first CPU. it was developed and released by Intel in 1971 and had 2,300 transistors and performed 60,000 operations per second.
For comparison purposes, Intel’s Pentium CPU (which is not powerful enough for today’s standards) had 3,300,000 transistors. and executes about 188,000,000 instructions per second.
Since the 4004 chip, CPU functionality has improved dramatically. Now you can find them in laptops, tablets, phones and TVs.
They can handle other functions, such as Wi-Fi. many laptops share chips in a chipset, which is a group of microchips located on the motherboard, with graphic electronics.
These removable, multifunctional chips are called SoCs (systems on chips). They are optimized for efficiency and low power consumption, so that the device’s battery can last for hours without recharging.
Intel and AMD are the leading manufacturers of CPUs. Although both make CPUs with different advantages under the lexicon of model names . Almost all laptops have Intel CPUs.
The new CPUs are built on a “backward compatible” architecture. The concept was introduced by Intel in 1978 with the 8086 processor.
All of our technological advances in CPUs stem from our desire for faster computing devices. It is important to get the right type of CPU for your laptop. For activities like multitasking, having more cores is like having two, three or four CPUs working at the same time. CPU performance is becoming less and less important to the overall performance of a laptop, despite the combination of multiple factors that go into a computer. Hopefully, this guide will give you a better understanding of the different parts of the CPU and their functions to facilitate the purchase of a better new laptop.