The concept of a CPU is not really that difficult to understand – although I know some folks make it appear more complicated than it has to be.

1. Instructions are Stored in Memory

The first thing to understand about CPUs is this – when programs run, their instructions are stored in memory. The CPU fetches instructions from the computer’s memory to execute.

2. CPU Decodes the Instruction

The next step is for the processor to understand or decode the instruction and determine what it has to do. Usually what happens is that the CPU will do some form of computation, then stores it back to memory, the disk, or the display.

3. How Many Instructions?

One question is, how many instructions can the CPU execution per second? Well, this is determined by a of factors, including:

How large is the instruction contained in memory

How long it takes for the instruction to reach the CPU.

How long the processor takes to compute and crunch the instructions.

How long it takes to output the result of the processing.

Essentially, the number of instructions a CPU can execute per second is an indication of its speed and performance.


Hopefully, this article has helped you understand how a CPU works. The CPU is a central part of any computer system and it is certainly useful to grasp its inner workings well.

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