20 Main Types of CPU: Complete Guide with Names, Functions & Pictures

Overview of Types of CPU

The CPU, or Central Processing Unit, is like the brain of a computer. It handles tasks such as math, logic, and managing input/output. Computer speed is often measured in GHz, with higher numbers indicating faster processing. There are various types of CPUs, each suited for different tasks and workloads. Unlike memory and graphics cards, the CPU’s role is unique. The selection of CPU types depends on the type of work, workload, and its importance to the system. Let’s explore various CPU types, their functions, and applications.

Types of CPU Diagrams

Types of CPU

Types of CPU Names

CPU Types By Core/Thread Architecture

  1. Single-Core CPU
  2. Dual-Core CPU
  3. Quad-Core CPU
  4. Hexa-Core CPU
  5. Octa-Core CPU
  6. Deca-Core CPU
  7. Multi-Core CPU

CPU Types by Market Segment

  1. Mainframe CPUs
  2. Server CPUs
  3. Hyper-Threading Technology
  4. Multi-Processor CPU
    • Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP)
    • Asymmetric Multi-Processing (AMP) 
  5. PowerPC CPUs
  6. Quantum CPUs
  7. x86 Processors

Types of CPU By Core/Thread Architecture

Single-Core CPU

A single-core processor is like a brain with just one thinking unit. It does only one task at a time and not as fast as processors with multiple cores. So, one person is doing one thing instead of a group of people doing multiple things together.

It’s still useful for old computers and systems that can only handle one task at a time, but it is not commonly used. New computers with multi cores can do lots of things at once. It’s like running multiple apps together.

Dual-Core CPU

A dual-core CPU is like having two brains in one computer chip. It can do two things at a time, which makes tasks go faster. Each core has its own memory and control system.

It helps with everyday stuff like emails, updates, and scans without slowing down your main job. It’s like having a helpful assistant to share the workload!

Quad-Core CPU

A quad-core processor is like four brains (core) on a single chip. However, having “quad” doesn’t mean four times the speed for each task. The real advantage comes when running programs designed for simultaneous multitasking (SMT), which can boost speed.

They can handle different tasks on devices like smartphones, gaming computers, and big data servers. Some super-powerful servers even have 128 cores. These cores work together with other components to do different things.

These components are cache and memory management. The good thing is that each core can do its operation at the same time. Hence, the processor can handle lots of tasks all at once.

Hexa-Core CPU

A hexa-core processor is like a six cores on a single chip. Each unit works on its own and handles different tasks at the same time. Its performance is better than quad-core and dual-core ones.

It makes the processor more efficient for doing multiple tasks at once, like running multiple programs, editing videos, or handling complex 3D graphics. It’s a multitasking chip that boosts the performance of your computer or laptop.

Octa-Core CPU

An octa-core CPU has eight cores/brains working together in your device. These eight processing units are grouped into two sets of four cores each. It helps to boost the speed and performance of processors to make octa-core processors good for gaming laptops, high-end smartphones, and powerful workstations.

It is good for tasks that need a lot of computing power. The good thing about this processor is these processors can switch between using all eight cores at once or just two, depending on what you’re doing. Eventually, it helps in optimizing performance.

Deca-Core CPU

A deca-core CPU is a powerful processor with ten individual cores. These cores work independently and handle tasks simultaneously to boost multitasking abilities. Deca-core processors (10 cores) offer even better efficiency and performance than quad-core (4 cores) and octa-core (8 cores) processors.

They are commonly used in high-performance computing (HPC) tasks where the workload is more. Today, we can see many smartphones come with affordable Deca-core processors.

Manufacturers regularly release new devices with upgraded processors, adding cool features and keeping the phones competitive.

Multicore CPU

A multi-core CPU, or Central Processing Unit, is like having multiple mini processors/cores on a single chip. Each of these mini-processors can handle its tasks simultaneously. They share some resources but work together, making the overall system faster.

The main idea behind multicore processors is to improve performance without putting a maximum working load on a single core. Older processors had a limit because of power and heat issues.

Multicore processors solve this problem by dividing tasks among multiple cores and making multiple tasks simultaneously. This methodology improves the overall performance of the system.

Nowadays, you find multicore processors in many devices like regular computers (desktops and laptops) as well as more powerful systems like servers and high-performance computers. This design is common in the tech world and makes computers more efficient and powerful.

Types of CPU by Market Segment

Mainframe CPUs

A mainframe processor is like the brain of a powerful mainframe computer. These computers are big and their design is suitable to handle tons of data, do complex calculations, and support many users and tasks at the same time.

These processors are known for their speed, capacity, and ability to handle demanding workloads. They often have multiple cores and can do several tasks at once with the help of parallel processing.

IBM is a major player in the mainframe world. These processors are customized to efficiently handle tasks like transaction processing and database management, which are common in mainframe computing.

Due to that, mainframes are necessary for industries like finance, healthcare, and government, where there is a need to manage databases, transactions, and other lots of medical data securely and reliably.

Server CPUs

A server CPU is designed for tough jobs like handling data, managing storage, and juggling various devices. Its main job is to go through “instruction cycles,” working with other server parts to do important calculations.

Unlike regular PC processors, a server CPU is made specifically to handle heavy workloads. This includes things like managing emails, sharing files, and handling database transactions for offices and users all over the world.

What makes server CPUs special is that they have multiple power cores and advanced designs. It helps them handle the big tasks. A server CPU is carefully built to give the best performance in dealing with complicated computing jobs in big and diverse server setups.

Hyper-Threading Technology

Hyper-Threading Technology (HT Technology) by Intel makes one physical processor core act like two logical ones. Though there’s just one core, the operating system sees and treats it as two, boosting multitasking performance.

Dual-core processor with Hyper-Threading is recognized as a quad-core by the operating system. If it’s a four-core processor, it has eight logical cores.

While Hyper-Threading improves performance for multitasking and parallel tasks, not all apps benefit in the same way. It doesn’t double processing power but makes multitasking more efficient by handling multiple tasks simultaneously.

Multi-Processor CPU

A multi-processor CPU is a powerful computer processor that combines multiple processing cores on a single chip. Each core operates separately and allows the CPU to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
There are two main types of multi-processor configurations:

Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP):

In SMP, all processors have equal access to the computer’s memory and input/output devices. The operating system distributes tasks among the processors, and each chip works independently. SMP is commonly used in servers and high-performance computing setups.

Asymmetric Multi-Processing (AMP):

AMP processors may handle specific tasks, such as general computing, graphics processing, or input/output operations. AMP setups are less common and are typically found in special-purpose applications.

The multi-processors improve performance, make multitasking smoother, and accelerate processing.

PowerPC CPUs

PowerPC (PPC) is a type of CPU design made in 1991 by Apple, IBM, and Motorola under the AIM alliance. It’s based on RISC, a streamlined approach to computing. PowerPC aimed to replace the older Motorola 68k chips in Apple’s Macintosh computers.

The term stands for “performance optimization with enhanced RISC.” Beyond Macs, PowerPC is used in various embedded applications and popular gaming consoles like PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii.

Quantum CPUs

A Quantum Processor Unit (QPU) is the powerhouse of a quantum computer. Unlike regular computers, it uses particles like electrons and photons to do computations much faster. Instead of regular bits, it uses quantum bits or qubits, which can be 0 or 1 simultaneously.

Adding more qubits makes it exponentially more powerful than traditional computers. Quantum computers are simpler in design, made up entirely of qubits without separate memory or processors. They are super-fast, about 158 million times faster than the best supercomputers we have today.

x86 Processors

X86, also referred to as 80×86 or the 8086 family, is the primary CPU instruction set compatible with Intel’s 8086 and its successors. This architecture dominates the computing landscape, powering the majority of desktops, laptops, and many contemporary workstations and servers in the 21st century.

Initially, it was a 16-bit instruction set for processors, and with time, it was upgraded to X86, expanding to include 32-bit instruction sets.

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