Central Processing Unit
The failure of a CPU is seldom the basis for modern computer repair, whether in the Milford NH area or anywhere else.
The vast majority of machines taken to the shop for PC service of one kind or another by Nashua area users have no problems at all with their CPU's. Nonetheless, a trip through the history and development of the CPU will prove instructive.
The Central Processing Unit (CPU) which users often abbreviate to central processor or even more commonly just processor, is the electronic circuitry in the computer, or as it is often called - the brains of a computer. Its main purpose is to take care of the many calculations the computer needs to go through in order to function. This may sound simple but these "calculations" include performing logical, arithmetic, control and input/output operations which are specified via instructions. Most people find the processor to be the most important component of the computer (power-wise).
There are many CPU manufacturers but the most successful ones include of course Intel, AMD, IBM and Nvidia, other successful companies are Motorola, Conner Langan, Sun Microsystems, Qualcomm, Via and TI. Among these Intel was the first to introduce microprocessors and Sun's engineers brought the first SPARC processor to us. Read on to learn more.
Troubles With the CPU
Even though the lifespan of most new processor units is into multiple decades, the number of people who report issues suggest otherwise. Now, this doesn't mean the CPU won't last for 10, 15 or 20 years, but the questions is: How? Suppose you buy a brand new, top of its class CPU and use it for a year or more - do you think it would be as efficient as it was the first day? No. Well, this actually differs from situation to situation, user to user and plenty of other factors.
The most common issue seems to relate to overheating. You see, dust will pile up within the CPU cooler over time and this will certainly result in higher temperatures of the processor, and guess what it'll automatically do when high temperature is detected? It will power down, not completely but enough to start operating on a less efficient level (providing less performance).
Of course, you can clean the fans, take care of the dust and therefore allow it to run smoothly again, which would keep the CPU cool enough to operate normally. Seems great but plenty of people who've tried cleaning the housing of their processors (not just the cooler fan) end up damaging it completely.
The CPU is very sensitive, the pins which hold everything in place can be bent and render the complete CPU useless, very easily. Others break the pins when they try and separate the CPU from the motherboard, and while doing so, again bend the pins and only end up wishing they've let a professional service handle it for them.
In layman's terms, overclocking a CPU pretty much means pushing the speed limit it was originally set to, in order to gain even better performance. Don't think users who overclock their processors are looking for trouble, no, there are many types of CPUs you can purchase which are meant to be overclocked. For example, the Intel's i7-2600K (notice the "K" at the end, this is the developers saying "feel free to overclock this one") processors can be overclocked from its original speed of 3.4Ghz up to 5.2 Ghz, which is certainly a noteworthy performance increase.
The most common issues with overclocking again, come down to the heat. Plenty of users get well excited about these amazing speed boosts that they forget about the temperature. Of course, as the CPU increases its performance (speed), it also increases the power it needs to run, and therefore - higher temperatures. When overclocking, it is immensely important to monitor CPU coolers capabilities and the processor's core temperature, if it over-heats, this will surely result in more trouble than satisfaction and once more, make you wish you'd never touched it yourself.
It is important to mention that almost none of the standard coolers which come with your CPU by default, will support overclocking. If you decide to take this step, make sure you're familiar with the hardware enough, including RAM memory requirements and that you have an advanced cooler installed already.
Talking about the history of computer processing units can prolong so much that the discussion would last for days, if not weeks. From the first patented electrical logic circuit (by Nikola Tesla in 1903) to the invention of the first transistor by John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley, at the Bell Laboratories in 1947.
The first integrated circuit was developed in 1958 by Robert Noyce and Jack Kibly and two years later, IBM launched the first mass-production factory of transistors in New York. About ten years later, Intel Corporation was founded by Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, and Intel (with the help of Ted Hoff) was the first to introduce the world to the microprocessors in 1971, and only one year later, they introduced the first computer processing unit, the Intel 8008.
Those are the beginnings anyway, what we have today was something completely unimaginable by engineers back then. The very first CPUs had speeds of only 4 - 10 MHz, which result in laughter in many today when they compare it to today's standards of high-end processors, which can have speeds of over 5,000 Megahertz (MHz) - of course, multiply that by four and you get 20,000+ MHz with Quad Core processors, amazing.
Of course, a lot of situations require no need for these high-end super processors, people get surprise with just how much the first CPUs are still used today. The thing is, if you're designing a printer or a sewing machine, you don't need anything super-powered to run it. That's because there is no need, you'd be completely satisfied with a NEC 7810 or a MOS 6502 to run those, which are at the same time, much more simple to use and operate, and are obviously much cheaper.