Understanding the Fundamentals of CPU Architecture

By: | October 20th, 2023

Photo by Devin Spell on Unsplash

Many people use computers daily for different purposes. However, most of them do not understand how they process data. It is important to understand how your computer is organized and its architecture. The main blocks in your computer include the CPU, main memory, storage, and I/O devices. The brain of the device is the Central Processing Unit (CPU). It is the unit that drives the computer by processing instructions and interpreting commands. Let’s dive into the CPU to understand its structure.

What is CPU architecture design?

The CPU stands for Central Processing Unit. In simple terms, you can refer to it as the brain of your computer. All data interpretations and processes happen in this section. All data in your computer is stored on the hard disk or remotely. Any time you want to retrieve that data, it is the CPU that performs that command.

It makes it possible to retrieve it and read it on your screen. If you want to read a web browser, a connected device, or listen to music, it is the CPU that makes all that possible. It requires different applications to perform each task. Without the CPU, it would be impossible to perform any task on your computer.

When your computer is in use, nearly every process happens in the CPU.  Due to this, the CPU consumes most power. Some processes might cause your device to slow down. There are different ways to check CPU usage on Mac. Checking Mac CPU usage allows you to view which apps are overworking on the system. If you want to know how to find CPU speed on Mac, you need to understand how the CPU works. One of the ways to check Mac performance is to use the Activity Monitor to display different activities in the system. Also, there are third-party apps that can help monitor CPU usage on Mac. You can use them for Mac to check CPU usage and improve the health and performance of your computer.

What is the purpose of the CPU?

The CPU functions as the processor of your device. It is an electronic circuit embedded within your computer’s motherboard. It is built there to perform several purposes.

●      Execution of operations. Every action that you perform on your computer is considered an operation. It constitutes a series of instructions. The entire CPU works to execute these operations.

●      Fetch instructions. To fetch means to receive instructions between RAM and the target program.

●      Decode instructions. To decode means to convert the data into a language or structure that you can understand.

The structure of the CPU

Architecture CPU is composed of multiple parts. Each part works in harmony with all the rest to perform tasks. The CPU consists of microprocessors or systems built on microchip/s. Your computer might have a multicore CPU structure. That means it will have more than one CPU. Here are the parts that make the CPU on your computer.

Control Unit

The Control Unit is the section where all instructions are fetched. It receives information from the memory written in small bits. Its purpose is to translate the instructions into signals. These signals are sent like electrical pulses. Each signal carries a series of commands that the other parts of the CPU must perform.

Logic Unit

The Logic unit is also called the ALU or Arithmetic Logic Unit. It consists of a series of digital circuits. Their purpose is to work out arithmetic tasks based on numbers. In simple language, it performs calculations including.

●      Additions

●      Subtractions

●      Multiplications

●      Divisions

●      Other logic functions 

Every instruction given to the computer gets stored in this unit. It also stores data for current and future executions. It receives its data and commands from your computer’s memory.

Memory Unit

The Memory Unit of your computer is also known as the RAM. Its work is to store temporary data. It also helps store data permanently in the computer’s hard drives. It is the unit where programs switch allowing one program to display on your screen at a time for viewing.

Temporary storage means the RAM does not store data permanently. Once the power goes off, the data stored in it is lost. The purpose of storing data in RAM is to make it readily available whenever you need it. The main functions of the RAM include the following.

●      Encoding data to make it legible or other parts to understand instructions

●      Storing data into multiple databases

●      Retrieving data from various storage places


Your computer is made of a wide range of components. Each performs specific tasks that benefit the overall user experience. The main component of your computer is the CPU. It is regarded as the main brain of the device. It comprises three main components and each has a unique purpose. The memory is the RAM or temporary storage. The logic unit performs arithmetic tasks while the control unit fetches instructions from other units.


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