How Does CPU Look Like? [Physical Appearance of a Processor]

Written By Steven Arends

Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain of an electronic device that executes all the instructions and helps to achieve unimaginable turnout.

A CPU is a tiny piece of metal that consists of zillions of transistors and wires. This chip also connects all the computer components with tiny strands of

This article will show you the inner and outer appearance of a CPU along with other details. So let’s get started!

What is a CPU and How Does It Look Like?

The acronym CPU stands for Central Processing Unit. It is the component that receives the instructions and executes them for computing. A modern CPU is a silicon integrated circuit with numerous short, rounded, metallic connectors that are very thin, tiny, and square.

Sometimes, you may find pins underside the CPU instead of metallic connectors. That is because of different techniques used to connect the CPUs with the motherboards. But the amount of pins a CPU has is completely distinct due to core architecture and generation.

Mainly, Intel uses the LGA surface mounting technology for their CPUs. On the contrary, AMD uses PGA technology for its CPUs. For more details on the LGA and PGA socket, check out a separate post on LGA vs. PGA, which one to pick and why?

Caution: Installing a CPU on the motherboard should be handled with care. Any misalignment while installing the CPU socket can damage the CPU or motherboard pins.

The inside of a CPU consists of six main components: a control unit, arithmetic logic unit, registers, cache, buses, and clock. inner-side-of-cpu

Quick Note: The blue bits represent the transistor structures, and the yellow/orange blocks are known as SRAM caches and buffers.

On the other hand, the outer side of the CPU is a two-inch ceramic square with a silicon integrated circuit inside. outer-side-of-cpu

CPUs produce a ton of heat within a short time. To quickly dissipate the heat, modern computers use a heat sink on top of the CPU. Check out another post if you are wondering how hot a CPU can get without a heat sink.

Where is the CPU Located?

A CPU is a small, still, the mightiest component located on top of your computer motherboard. The CPU is placed into a CPU socket while the connector pins are perfectly aligned. A small lever holds the chip to keep it secured from any unexpected movements or damages.

As a CPU generates a lot of heat, you will find a heat sink on top of the chipset that dissipates the heat from the processor. cpu-on-motherboard

Contrarily, laptops use surface-mount CPUs rather than CPU sockets that are mainly used to save the space of a motherboard. Surface-mount CPUs use a less powerful heat sink or fan to manage the heat. cpu-cooler

You may find some more advanced cooling techs for the most recent processors. Among them, water cooling and dry cooling are the most popular. But before picking a cooler, you should check whether it is compatible with your CPU.

Different Types of Devices with CPU and Their Usage

Almost all types of electronic devices use a CPU to execute all sorts of instructions, including laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, and even flat-screen televisions. A CPU acts like the brains of the device that connects and commands all other components.

AMD and Intel have been leading the CPU market for several decades. They are mainly focused on desktop, laptop, and server-based computers.

Besides, Apple, Qualcomm, and NVIDIA are producing chipsets for smartphones and tablets. For more information on different types of CPUs, check out a separate post on differentiations on types of CPUs.

There are five types of processors available for different types of devices including DSP, Microcontroller, Microprocessor, Embedded Processor, and Media Processor.

People used different phrases to describe a CPU, such as a processor, central processor, microprocessor, and so on.

Some individuals often refer to a computer monitor or television as a CPU, which is very incorrect. These pieces of hardware serve totally different purposes, and these are nothing like a CPU.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a CPU do?

A CPU performs some advanced tasks such as basic arithmetic, logic, controlling, and I/O operations by following the instructions of any program.

What are the main parts of the CPU?

A CPU consists of six different components. However, there are mainly three components that make up the CPU, they are control unit, arithmetic logic unit, and immediate access store.

What is a CPU made of?

A CPU is made of silicon wafers, which are actually thin slices of pure silicon. Besides, a CPU also needs a tiny amount of plastic and copper.

Wrap Up

The outer image of a processor is unique compared to other components. It is called an integrated heat spreader, which helps to dissipate heat.

Removing the metallic armor will reveal the inner flipped silicon die. If you dive into a closer look, you will find the silicon die containing several components such as CPU cores, caches, controllers, and even an integrated GPU.

I hope this article has covered all the aspects of the outer and inner appearance of a processor. For further queries, leave a comment below.

About The Author
Steven Arends is a computer science graduate and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a vast collection of computer hardware and loves exploring the latest advancements. As a contributing author to 10Scopes, Steven shares his expertise to make the world of technology more accessible and easier to understand for all readers.

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