What Is CPU (Central Processor Unit) and How To List Detailed CPU Information?

Central Processing Unit or simply CPU is the heart of a computer or server. CPU is used to process most of the data the computer provides. CPU runs operating systems, applications, tools, hardware tools. CPU connected to the motherboard or mainboard via socket which provides a lot of pins to communicate with other components.

CPU Components

CPU has mainly two components. They are called as Control Unit (CU) which responsible for fetching, processing,setting data and Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) . A typical CPU also relies on the following components to function properly.

  • Control Unit (CU)
  • Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU)
  • System Clock to get time properly
  • Memory to store data
  • Secondary storage to store data permanently
  • Data and Address Buses

Control Unit

Control Unit as its name suggests controlling the behavior of the CPU. Control Unit extracts instructions from memory and decodes. After decoding the instructions to the binary it executes the binary instructions with the help of ALU.

Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU)

Arithmetic Logic Unit or ALU performs core processing operations like arithmetic and logic. Arithmetic operations are sum, binary shift and Logic operations are AND, OR, XOR, NOT etc. For example if following exapmles can be calculated by ALU unit.

Clock Speed

One of the performance metric for CPU is Clock Speed. CPU process given data multiple times in a second. This frequency is called Clock Speed. Processing more in a single second provides more performance and processing power. End of the 90’s frequency was about 400 MHz but currently, 4 GHz is the upper value for clock speed.

Overclock

We have learned that Clock Speed is an important performance factor which is related to the processes data in a second. There are some tricks which can be used to increase the Clock Speed or performance of the CPU. This is called overlock which simply makes Clock Speed higher. This will make also the CPU become warmer. Overclocking will also risk the CPU because of the hot degree which makes the CPU burn with hot.

CPU Cores

Old type CPU’s were running single instruction at a given time. The performance improvement is generally done with clock speed simply increasing the clock speed or frequency. But the clock speeds have some limits. In order to get higher performances CPU vendors have created a new technology called cores. CPU Core is an independent processing part where multiple of them can be put in a single CPU. This will make running multiple instructions at a given time with multiple cores in a single CPU.

L1/L2/L3 Cache

CPU process data with the ALU. But there are a lot of data to be processed and receiving all of them from RAM is a bit slow in some cases. CPU has Cache Memory which is Level 1 or L1, Level 2 or L2 and Level 3 or L3. These cache memories have very little size like 3MB, 6MB  because of their expensive price. But they are very fast because they are integrated into the CPU.

RAM

Random Access Memory or RAM is directly connected to the CPU to provide volatile memory or storage. Reading data from disk and writing to the disk is a very slow operation which will slow down the CPU. RAM provides fast access, read and write operations. RAM also provides big memory sizes according to the Cache Memory like 4GB, 8GB etc.

CPU Architectures

Over the years there are a different type of CPU’s and CPU architectures are created. CPU is very complex according to its working style like how to get data, read instruction, process data, put data etc.

X86 or 32 Bit

x86 is one of the most popular CPU architecture. x86 is used in PC, Laptop, Server and Mobile devices. Intel and AMD are the main manufacturers of these type of CPU’s. x86 uses 32-bit instructions and data

X64 or 64 Bit

x64 bit extensive version of x32. x64 bit uses 64-bit instructions and data. AMD is the creator of the x64 but Intel also uses this architecture too.

ARM

ARM is one of the most popular CPU architecture after x86 and x64. ARM is mainly used in Mobile Phones, TVs, Embedded systems.

Get CPU Information with CPUID Program

We can use CPUID tool in order to get detailed information about our CPU. We can download CPUID for Windows operating system from the following link.

Get CPU Information with CPUID Program

Get CPU Information with CPUID Program

We can continue with a classical Windows installation procedure Next->Next.

CPU Detailed Information

In the following screenshot, the CPUID tool provides detailed information about current system CPU.

CPU Detailed Information

CPU Detailed Information

  • The name provides the full name of the CPU which is Intel Xeon E5640 in this case
  • Code Name is the nickname of the CPU which is Westmere-EP
  • The package is the CPU socket type used to connect mainboard or motherboard which is Socket 1366 LGA
  • Technology is the production size of the CPU elements which is 32 nanometer in this example
  • The specification is the detailed information about the CPU standard which is Intel Xeon CPU X5650 @ 2.67 GHz
  • Family, Model, Stepping, Ext. Family, Ext. Model and Revision provides the CPU Model name version in a numerical way
  • Instructions provide the capabilities and instructions supported by the CPU which is MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, EM64T, Vt-x, AES
  • Core Speed provides the Clock Speed or frequency of the CPU which is 2660.00 MHz in this case
  • Cache shows L1/L2/L3 cache memory size which is 64KB, 256KB, 12 MB in this case.

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