About Computer Processors

By Kelly Townsend

A computer processor, or better known as a Central Processing Unit (CPU), is a key component in certain types of machines that have the capability of carrying out commands. CPUs can be found in a variety of digital and electronic equipment such as children toys, computers, video entertainment consoles and other devices.


In 1945, the idea of the first computer with a processing unit capable of performing different tasks was published by John von Neumann. The computer was called the EDVAC and was finished in 1949. These first primitive computer processors, such as the EDVAC and the Harvard Mark I, were incredibly bulky and large. Hundreds of CPUs were built into the machine to perform the computers tasks.

Time Frame

Starting in the 1950s, the transistor was introduced for the CPU. This was a vital improvement because they helped remove much of the bulky material and wiring and allowed for more intricate and reliable CPU's. The 1960s and 1970s brought about the advent of microprocessors. These were very small, as the length would usually be recorded in nanometers, and were much more powerful. Microprocessors helped this technology become much more available to the public due to their size and affordability. Eventually, companies like Intel and IBM helped alter microprocessor technology into what we see today. The computer processor has evolved from a big bulky contraption to a minuscule chip.


Computer processors are responsible for four basic operations. Their first job is to fetch the information from a memory source. Subsequently, the CPU is to decode the information to make it usable for the device in question. The third step is the execution of the information, which is when the CPU acts upon the information it has received. The fourth and final step is the writeback. In this step, the CPU makes a report of the activity and stores it in a log.


Two companies are responsible for a vast majority of CPUs sold all around the world. Intel Corporation is the largest CPU manufacturer in the world and is the maker of a majority of the CPUs found in personal computers. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., known as AMD, has in recent years been the main competitor for Intel in the CPU industry.


The CPU has greatly helped the world progress into the digital age. It has allowed a number of computers and other machines to be produced that are very important and essential to our global society. For example, many of the medical advances made today are a direct result of the ability of computer processors. As CPUs improve, the devices they are used in will also improve and their significance will become even greater.