Central Processing Unit (CPU)

Definition – What does Central Processing Unit (CPU) mean?

The central processing unit (CPU) is the unit which performs most of the processing inside a computer. To control instructions and data flow to and from other parts of the computer, the CPU relies heavily on a chipset, which is a group of microchips located on the motherboard.

The CPU has two components:

  • Control Unit: extracts instructions from memory and decodes and executes them
  • Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU): handles arithmetic and logical operations

To function properly, the CPU relies on the system clock, memory, secondary storage, and data and address buses.

This term is also known as a central processor, microprocessor or chip.

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