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What is a CPU?

A CPU or central processing unit is a very important piece of computer hardware. Also known as just the processor, the CPU functions as the "brain" of your computer and is able to do millions of calculations in a fraction of the time. Essentially the most crucial component of any computer system, without the CPU, a computer would not function.

Although powerful, the CPU is small and also very delicate. The handling of a CPU is paramount, that's why technical professionals and computer experts will pre-install a CPU in custom built computers. Modern CPUs come packaged with CPU heatsinks, to keep the processor cool, protected and ensure the processor doesn't overheat.

The first CPUs were designed to be part of a larger computer in the early 1960s and late 1950s. As a result, they were expensive and were never made available to the public. A few years later, brilliant scientists and engineers found a way to condense and mass produce CPUs into home computers meant for consumer use.

Shopping for a new CPU online

Two rival companies INTEL and AMD have fought for dominance of the CPU market for years and have manufactured different types of CPUs for global computer enthusiasts. Today CPU are becoming faster and more affordable allowing your internal hardware, applications and daily computing to process information at greater speed and efficiency.

When buying a new CPU, please advise that you'll need a motherboard with a compatible CPU socket type . Check with your motherboard manufacturer for installation information before replacing or purchasing a new CPU. Be sure to select a processor that comes with a additional heatsink in the packaging, if not, purchases a CPU cooler for protection against heat damage and help improve the perfomance of your computer system.

Let OneShop be your guide for the best advice on current processors and constantly check the CPU category page for updates on the latest CPU ratings and reviews.

Other CPU Resources

Read more about the history of a CPU on Wikipedia

See wiseGeek and Webopedia for infomation on "What is a CPU?"