CPU Architecture

The processor (really a short form for microprocessor and also often called the CPU or central processing unit) is the central component of the PC. This vital component is in some way responsible for every single thing the PC does. It determines, at least in part, which operating systems can be used, which software packages the PC can run, how much energy the PC uses, and how stable the system will be, among other things. The processor is also a major determinant of overall system cost: the newer and more powerful the processor, the more expensive the machine will be.

When the Hungarian born John von Neumann, first suggested storing a sequence of instructions – that’s to say, a program – in the same memory as the data, it was a truly innovative idea. That was in his “First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC”, written in 1945. The report organized the computer system into four main parts: the Central Arithmetical unit, the Central Control unit, the Memory, and the Input/Output devices. More than half a century later, nearly all processors had a “von Neumann” architecture.

PC Components | Processors (CPUs) | PC Data Storage | PC Multimedia | PC Input/Output | Communications | Mobile Computing

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