teach-ict.com logo

THE education site for computer science and ICT

1. Purpose of a CPU

The CPU is often described as the 'brain' of the computer (although that isn't a technical term so don't write it in an exam). The CPU is an electronic chip called a microprocessor.

The CPU fetches instructions from memory (RAM), it decodes the instructions and then executes those instructions. The instructions are provided by a computer program.

The purpose of the CPU is to process data. It is where all the searching, sorting, calculating and decision making takes place in the computer.

So no matter what you do on your computer, whether it be writing an essay, looking at your photographs or checking your emails, the CPU has dealt with all of the data and processing required to make these tasks possible.

Another task for the CPU is to control all the other component parts of the computer for example:

  • Hard disk
  • DVD drive
  • Sound system
  • Graphics system