Alan Freedman -- The Computer Language Company - Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
Longest-Running Tech Reference on the Planet

A CDE Definition

You'll love The Computer Desktop Encyclopedia (CDE) for Tech Term of the Day (TTOD)

LOOK UP ANOTHER TERM


brains

A computer's "brains" are its central processing unit. See CPU.



CPU

(Central Processing Unit) The computing part of the computer. Also called the "processor," it is made up of the control unit and ALU. Today, the CPUs of almost all computers are contained on a single microprocessor chip. In fact, multiple processing units on one chip are commonplace (see multicore). See microprocessor, control unit and ALU.

Computer Vs. Computer System
Technically, the CPU, clock and main memory make up a computer. A complete computer system requires the addition of peripheral control units, input, output and storage devices and an operating system. In practice, the terms "computer" and "computer system" are synonymous.

From the Old Mainframer's Viewpoint
Years ago, computer professionals involved with mainframes referred to the whole computer as the CPU, in which case, CPU referred to the processor, memory (RAM) and input/output channels.




Central Processing Units
Years ago, a CPU was the processor, memory and everything inside the cabinet. Today, a CPU is generally nothing more than a microprocessor.






Personal Use Only

Before/After Your Search Term
BeforeAfter
BQFPbranch
bracesbranch prediction
bracketbranding
bracketingbranding fiascos
Bragg gratingBRAS
brain-computer interfaceBRAVIA Sync
brain dumpbraze
brain-machine interfaceBRB
brain mappingBRD
brain scanningBRE

Terms By Topic
Click any of the following categories for a list of fundamental terms.
Computer Words You Gotta KnowSystem design
Job categoriesUnix/Linux
Interesting stuffPersonal computers
InternetIndustrial Automation/Process Control
Communications & networkingAssociations/Standards organizations
HistoryDesktop publishing
Audio/VideoGraphics
MainframesSecurity
ProgrammingHealthcare IT
System design