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Does every electronic device have a CPU?


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#1 Just_One_Question

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 08:25 PM

Does every piece of tech have a processor? Or do only devices which have to make more than one "decision" have a CPU? What about classic incandescent light bulbs or simple light switches? I don't think they have a processor since they have nothing to "process". Or am I wrong? I've seen, however, that new LED light bulbs have a small motherboard towards their base. Do they have a CPU? What about water-heaters or sandwich-makers?

I would greatly appreciate any information as this has been on my mind lately and as you can probably guess, I am not all that knowledgable when it comes to technologies.
:)

Edited by Just_One_Question, 14 March 2017 - 08:26 PM.


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#2 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 10:23 AM

Short answer - no, not by a long shot !

 

A lot of electronic equipment is controlled by using devices known as PICs. As a starting point for learning more about them see Wikipedia -

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microchip_Technology

 

PICs process inputs and generate control outputs but would not be considered as CPUs. As an other example the Raspberry pi is a computer and contains a CPU, the Arduino is a controller and does not. It is however something of a spectrum, ranging from an 8 pin PIC upto devices like 64 bit processors from Intel and AMD.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#3 Just_One_Question

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 10:56 AM

...Chris Cosgrove

Got it! Thanks for the input. :) As with anything in life I supposed that it wasn't a mere 'black & white' subject when it comes to CPUs.

Just one follow up question if you don't mind: Which electronic devices do tech enthusiasts generally agree upon to be the least advanced technologies that do have what is considered a CPU in modern times? Is it feature phones such as the new Nokia 3310 for example? Or is it something more advanced such as the Raspberry Pi, as you very well said?

Thank you once more!
:)

#4 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 08:06 PM

I wouldn't like to give an answer to that question and accurate technical data on the redesigned 3310 is somewhat lacking but it is referred to as having a 16 bit processor, and I saw a mention that the old one used an ARM processor.

 

Just to sidetrack this a little, you don't need a conventional CPU type integrated circuit chip to build a computer. I have been to Bletchley Park and stood lost in awe looking at the re-built - and working - Colossus they have there. Not even a transistor in sight, just wires, relays and thermionic valves. Look it up, it was an amazing device when the first was built as a code breaking tool in 1943 or 44.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#5 Just_One_Question

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 08:41 PM

Thank you for the speedy answer, Chris! :)




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