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In layman's terms, how do CPUs work?


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#1 Just_One_Question

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 06:10 PM

Hey, can anyone try to explain to me in layman's terms how do CPUs work? Not what they do, but how do they work? I just can't wrap my head around how does this square chip, not any thicker than half a centimeter, manage to compute thousands of instructions per second when you send electric impulses to it. What is inside of it that makes all these calculations? It gets hotter, but there are no moving parts. Or are there? Especially those SoC processors on the new smartphones are extremely small, yet do so many computations. I once broke one in half (it was for the trash anyways), but didn't understand anything when I looked inside of it from the side.

I'm sorry if my question is way off, I've never been very good at Physics and I am just curious. Feel free to link to an article if there is one that explains it in a non-technical way, as I don't know how to code; I'm not looking to be spoon-fed, just would like to satisfy my curiosity.

Thanks!:)



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#2 hamluis

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 06:17 PM

Google Is Your Friend.

 

Louis



#3 Just_One_Question

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 08:06 AM

I've read up on some information, but I still don't quite understand it and have some, probably rather silly, questions.

 

1.Can you make the CPU bus shorter by aligning the different parts in the CPU in a different manner? If you make the bus wires shorter, that would mean an increase in the speed of computational tasks, right? Since the electric signals would now have to travel a shorter distance? Or am I wrong?

 

2.About how many such bus connecting wires are there in an average CPU, such as my old one, for example, AMD Sempron 2800+ @1.6Ghz? Is it in the tens, hundreds, thousands?

 

3.If there is in fact such a high number of bus wires in a given CPU, how did they manage to make them so small? Via what technique are the producers able to put out wires that are no thicker than 1/1000 of a millimeter?

 

4.If the bus wires are indeed so many and so small, how come they don't burn out easily when the electricity is passing through them and they get heat up? Wouldn't a wire with such ultra-small thickness burn out rather fast when little heating up is placed upon it? Or does it not matter how thick a wire is, but just what it is made of? For example if a wire is made out of pure iron, no matter how thick it is, it would burn out at around 1811K (1538C or 2800F)?

 

Lots of processor bus question I have. I should've listened more in school. :lmao:


Edited by Just_One_Question, 23 July 2017 - 11:02 AM.


#4 hamluis

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 10:40 AM

No...you just need to use Google to frame the specifics of each question...as such come to mind.  There's a wealth of specifc, detailed information avalible on various facets of computers and computing.  You just have to decide to avail yourself of the research and explanations put forth by many others...courtesy of the vast amount of information available to anyone desiring varied answers to varied questions.

 

Louis



#5 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 05:42 PM

(1)  You can't unless you feel up to designing and building a new mobo.

 

(2)  Probably equates to the number of pins in the mount.

 

(3)  Photo-chemical etching.

 

(4)  Most connections to a CPU are data which carry virtually no current. The power connectors are much thicker.

 

As Hamluis has said, for anything more detailed either use Google or the library of a good chemical and electronic engineering school.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#6 Just_One_Question

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 05:48 PM

Hey, thanks, that was really helpful!:)



#7 mjd420nova

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 09:09 PM

The process of manufacturing a microprocessor starts with this huge map of what parts are needed and their respective positions within the device.  Drawings are made huge and then shrunk in size until dimensions are in the nanometer range, (10 to the power of minus nine meters)  (.000000001 meter is one nano meter).  Position is important to keep those buss lines as short a possible and to prevent line cross over areas.  Metals are vaporized in a vacuum chamber to deposit themselves on specific doped areas of the supporting substrate.  Just like making a single junction transistor, a laser or even an electron beam is used to burn or cut through the layers making hundreds of junctions at once.  Some lines are run between layers to keep those lines short.  Like building a city, lay the foundations and add the utilities, then build the buildings of the type you need in the areas to provide the best cooling and traffic flow. 



#8 Just_One_Question

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 09:18 PM

I see. I too have always imagined all motherboards as a city, I guess it's a good analogy. I'm curious with the current System-on-Chips and System-in-Packages how small could CPUs/computers theoretically get in the future - it's insane in what sizes they come now as it is. :)


Edited by Just_One_Question, 23 July 2017 - 09:18 PM.


#9 MrSippi

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 05:38 AM

You've seen circuit boards right? CPUs are essentially circuit boards reduced to micro scales in layered fashions. They are done by doping with N and P materials.


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