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Computer Central Processing Unit (CPU)

Today we are considering the central processing unit of the computer CPU (Central Processing Unit – Central Processing Unit or CPU). This is the heart of the system unit or, if you like, its brain! In computer jargon it is sometimes called “stone” (crystalline silicon really looks like a stone).

This is the main processor of information coming into the computer. The central processor performs all the necessary mathematical operations with the incoming data, makes various samples from the databases, archives and unzips our files, deals with video encoding, processes the model of the physical interaction of particles in your favorite computer game, finally!

The central processor of a modern computer does a lot, it will be easier to list what it does not 🙂

Here are some photos of the CPU:

The first photo is the Intel dual-core central processor, the second is its back side. On this side, it is inserted into the processor socket (socket “socket”) on the motherboard. In these photos we see the CPU forms of the factor “LGA-775”. The abbreviation “LGA” is an abbreviation for English. “Land Grid Array” is a type of enclosure with a matrix of contact pads. Outdated models were delivered in “PGA” cases (Pin Grid Array – pin contacts matrix), just such an outdated processor is shown in the last photo above.

The introduction of a new form of the factor was due to the fact that the number of “legs” (pins-terminals) of the CPUs of previous generations increased to such an extent that spurious electrical interference began to appear between them, affecting the operation of the final device. The peculiarity of LGA is that the contacts themselves are transferred from the processor case to the surface of the connector (socket), which is located on the motherboard. On the chip substrate there are only contact surfaces (the so-called “spots”).

In older models of computers, the installation of the processor was associated with a certain risk of bending or (God forbid) breaking one of several hundred PGA legs. A nightmare of the computer builder! 🙂 Now everything is much simpler.

What we see in the photos above is the outer shell of the computer’s central processor. Its function is to protect the core (silicon crystal itself) from mechanical stress, to provide the contact area with the cooling system (radiator), and also to provide an electrical contact for powering the device (photos above under the numbers “1” and “2”).

The central processor of the computer consists of a square plate of PCB, in which its core (silicon crystal) is tightly mounted, as well as the terminals of electrical contacts, plus a protective cover on top. What is under this cover, we examined here.

The process of manufacturing the finished chips can be described approximately like this: on a thin silicon base (substrate) through special “masks” with slots by the lithography method, layers of conductors, semiconductors and insulators are alternately applied. Sometimes the process of etching the elements on the crystal is used (through the same holes in the “mask”). After the procedure is completed, the substrate is sawn into squares, which are clad in a protective and heat-conducting shell, supplied with contact pads and the product is ready!

Now the market for desktop processors is divided among themselves by only two large companies: “Intel” and “AMD”. According to 2011 data, the first “held” more than 80% of this market, and the second – just over 10%. A completely different thing is the rapidly developing market for mobile processors. Here, there is simply a huge number of companies that produce their solutions (well, not quite “their own,” but we will talk about this in another article).

Schematically, the internal structure of the CPU can be represented as follows:

Here is a sectional view of the CPU chip:

And this is a powerful dual-core Athlon:

Yes, here is another photograph, for completeness, so to speak:

This is also a computer processor, just in a different design. There were, at the time, similar samples, the textolite board of which was inserted vertically into a special connector on the motherboard. It was called (Slot A), hence the term “slot processors”. Most of all, the design looks like a game console cartridge with a fan on the side 🙂

If you touch on such an important aspect as CPU performance, then it directly depends on several components and it also consists of:

its clock speed
number of cores
amount and speed of memory cache
Let us examine each of the items in more detail. The processor clock speed is measured in hertz (Hz).

Note: Hertz (Hz) is a unit of measure for the frequency of periodic processes (in this case, oscillations). For example, 1 Hertz is one such oscillation (cycle) per second.

It is inconvenient to measure the clock frequency (performance) of the central processor in Hertz (numbers are too large). Therefore, such quantities as megahertz and gigahertz are used here.

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