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can someone give me an easy to understand and very basic description of how a CPU works?

So lately I have been trying to find articles on how a CPU processes data, but am finding things that are too difficult for me to understand. Could someone see if they could just give me kind of the basics on how a cpu processes data?
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More about give easy understand basic description cpu works
  1. I don't think it's possible to simplify it too much. It is fantastically mind-boggling how complex today's processors are. I'm not even going to try and explain it. But to start off, you should begin with learning how simple computing devices such as calculators work, modern computers just build on the simple computers of the past. Then read up about how an ALU works, clock/reset lines, bus addressing, memory functions and so on...

    To oversimplify, it's a massive, complex grid of transistors and logic gates, which output a 0 or 1 state, based on the inputs received.
  2. What's the purpose and what level are we talking? Down to binary or higher up that car analogies can be used?
  3. k1114 said:
    What's the purpose and what level are we talking? Down to binary or higher up that car analogies can be used?


    On top of that, are we talking about ASIC or more general processors? CPU or GPU or DSP?

    Basically, if you really want to know, you'll be going down a deep rabbit hole that normally takes 4 years in college just to get started on!
  4. Ok so now that I got answers, I must ask you if you really think actually knowing how a CPU works is really necessary even if you're a relatively good technician. Not saying I'm just going to give up, but if I know the general things like what I see of you dies and how it retrieves and processes data from ram, and the fact that it Houses the memory controller that controls the dataflow between the processor and the ram, is 100% learning how a CPU works really even necessary? I just want opinions
  5. Dammit stupid auto correct I meant to say if I know the basics of how a processor works like how it retrieve data from ram and stuff like that
  6. Cole_9 said:
    Dammit stupid auto correct I meant to say if I know the basics of how a processor works like how it retrieve data from ram and stuff like that


    That's just it, the basics are too difficult and even depend on the particular memory, caching strategies, etc. In general, CPU asks memory for data, and memory returns that data, but how much and when all depend on the CPU and memory
  7. unless u want to create ur own cpu manufacturing line, its not mandatory...basic understanding will definitely help u a lot in detecting generic issues related to it...however if u want to know in detail how each and every software or hardware is affected by its function, then a more in-depth knowledge might be required...
  8. Hellfire13 said:
    unless u want to create ur own cpu manufacturing line, its not mandatory...basic understanding will definitely help u a lot in detecting generic issues related to it...however if u want to know in detail how each and every software or hardware is affected by its function, then a more in-depth knowledge might be required...


    Or if you plan on making a real-time controller /HPC code ;)
  9. Best answer
    For practical uses and typical pc issues, you can get up there to the car analogies. That's more of how a pc works rather than getting deeper into how a cpu works. Deep down helps programming and as a technician, do you mess with code? Is there anything you can do to affect how the cpu retrieves data from ram? No. If it's having issues, it fails memtest, hardware is bad and can't be repaired, it gets replaced. But knowing the part about how the pc works, like how the cpu, memory controller, mobo and ram is all affected would help you know where the issue lies.
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