Computer Hardware:
     • Tools, Static & Cleaning
     • Form Factor
     • PC Case & Fans
     • Motherboard
     • Processor (CPU)
     • Power Supply Unit
     • RAM
     • Hard Drive
     • Solid State Drive
     • Optical Drive
     • Floppy Disk Drive
     • Graphics Card
     • Sound Card
     • Network Card
     • Computer Monitor
     • Keyboard & Mouse
     • Laptop / Netbook
     • Building a Computer
     • Overclocking

Operating System & Backup:
     • Operating System
     • Drivers
     • Windows Tools
     • User Accounts
     • Backup
     • Windows 10

Internet & Network:
     • Internet
     • Wi-fi or Cable
     • Improve Broadband Speed
     • Network Computers

Computer Peripherals:
     • Printer
     • Scanner
     • External Hard Drive
     • USB Flash Drive

Computer Security:
     • Anti-virus
     • Anti-Spyware
     • Phishing
     • Firewall

Common PC Problems:
     • Slow Computer
     • Hardware Failure
     • Software Failure
     • Printing Problems

     • Windows Shortcuts
     • Glossary of Terms
     • HTML Colour Picker
     • Number Base Converter

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brains of the computer and can perform millions of instructions per second (MIPS). It is contained on a single microprocessor which gets very hot and has to be continually cooled with a large heatsink and fan (cooler).

The two major CPU manufacturers are Intel and AMD (Advanced Micro Devices). Both of these companies were founded in the late 1960s.

CPU - Intel Pentium 4 1.8GHz

RAM - CPU - Intel Pentium 4 1.8GHz.

The picture above shows the underside of an old Intel Pentium 4 CPU. Processor speed is measured in GHz (Gigahertz) but to get a better understanding of a computer's speed you must also look at the FSB (Front Side Bus) speed and the cache size. The FSB is the bus connecting the CPU to the chipset which in turn connects to both the RAM and Graphics. The cache is very fast memory which may be located on the CPU and is used to store frequently required data instead of having to access the slower system memory (RAM). The CPU above runs at 1.8GHz on a 400MHz rated FSB, and has a 256KB cache.

A CPU can be removed and upgraded to a newer faster processor but you are limited to a CPU that is compatible with the CPU socket and chipset. The CPU in the picture above will only fit in a Socket 478 as the CPU has 478 pins. The CPU socket below is called a ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) socket as the CPU pins are just placed in the socket without any force and then a lever locks the CPU into position. A large heatsink and fan are then placed on top of the CPU to keep it cool.

CPU Socket 478

CPU Socket 478.

The Intel Pentium 4 is a single core processor but today many CPUs have multiple cores. A multi-core processor is still contained on a single chip but has two or more central processing units (called cores) that may share the local cache. Multiple core processors are obviously faster than single core processors but the speed increase does depend on how effective the software is at utilising these extra cores. Today you will find many processors with two, three, four or more cores.

CPU - Intel i7 4770K 3.5GHz

RAM - CPU - Intel i7 4770K 3.5GHz.

The Intel i7 4770K is a much more powerful processor which has four cores and can process 8 threads at the same time. It fits into a LGA (Land Grid Array) Socket 1150, and the CPU has pads instead of pins.

CPU Socket 1150

CPU Socket 1150.

How do i know what CPU and socket is in my computer?

If you are using a Windows operating system then click START, then right-click on COMPUTER and select the SYSTEM PROPERTIES tab. This will tell you which processor you have in your computer. You can also download the small CPU-Z utility at which will give you detailed information on your CPU along with core speed, FSB speed, cache size, and the type of socket in your computer.