WWS Technology Wiki

CPU - A brief overview of what it is, how it works, and a light history lesson[]

By Talea Prenger



The cpu, a key part of any computer, cannot be seen but is something that every single computer must have. It is sort of like the brain of the computer, and functions by continuously following instructions given to it by computer programs which tell it what data it should process and how it should do so.  

What is a CPU?[]

A cpu is a piece of hardware, also known as a chip. It is small and has numerous pins or short rounded connectors on the underside. These connect to the motherboard . The CPU has many layers, some physical like the chip and transistors, and others are abstractions, like logic gates and circuits.

Cpu block.gif

What a CPU does and how it works[]

The CPU receives information from the RAM to process. After taking the data from the RAM, it moves it and processes it in the order it's been told to go, before sending it to the location that it has been appointed. CPU works closely with HDD and SSD, because before RAM can send information to the CPU, it receives the data from the hard drives. An SSD takes up less CPU power than an HDD and can make the computer work faster.


History of CPU[]

The first chip with integrated CPU functions was made in 1971. Throughout the 60's, Intel was trying to put the ability of a CPU into a couple of MOS LSI chips. In 1969, Lee Boysel created the Four-Phase Systems Inc. AL-1, an 8 bit CPU slice that could be expanded to 32 bits. He built this off of 8-bit arithmetic units he had built earlier at Fairchild. In 1970, Ray Holt and Steve Geller completed the MP944 chip set for Garret AiResearch. This chip set was designed to apply the F-14 Central AIr Data Computer on six metal-gate chips created by AMI. Then Ted Hoff and Stanley Mazor created the first integrated CPU, called the 40044-bit device. Finally in 1971, Federico Flaggin and Masatoshi Shima managed to compact the 2300 transistors of the 4004 into a 16 pin chip, and Intel advertised the first Single-Chip CPU on November 15th 1971.