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Central Processing Unit (CPU)#

The CPU is the "brains" of the whole operation. In a nutshell, a CPU does a lot of mathematical computations, really, really quickly, all inside of a single second. Put another way, a CPU operates in "cycles" and the clock speed measures how many cycles per-second a CPU can perform. The more cycles per second, the faster the CPU.

Here's a picture of the top side of a CPU for a visual reference:

Intel CORE i7 960

Intel CORE i7 960

And the bottom of a CPU looks like this:

Intel CORE i7 960 pins

Intel CORE i7 960 pins

Unless you're building your own computer, server or some other system, you'll likely never see a CPU directly. The CPUs you'll interact with will be virtual and abstracted away through a technology known as Virtualisation. We'll get to that later on.

Right now, the thing to know about CPUs is they're incredibly complicated. Therefore, you only really need to know about a few high level concepts to do your job as a systems administrator in a Cloud/virtualised environment.

Key Points#

In this section we're going to cover the following key topics:

  1. Architecture
  2. 32-bit versus 64-bit
  3. Clock Speed
  4. Cores

All topics are summarised in the Key Points section. Don't forget to check your understanding qith our simple quiz. And finally, remember that you have projects to complete which will help you better understand and grasp this topic.