Community Manager
Community Manager

Tuesday Trivia - What does CPU stand for?

I thought it'd be fun to play some trivia! Kicking things off with this question: The CPU controls all of a computer's functions. It acts as the brain of the computer. What does CPU stand for?


Reply and share your answer here! No googling 😊 

Gold Conversationalist

"Central Processing Unit"

What is fascinating, and incredible, is the growth of these devices.


I was a kid in the 1950's when "transistor radios" came out. Each model (in the Sears catalog) proudly proclaimed how many transistors it contained....usually 4 or 5 or 6. Sometimes even more!


But even back then, flim flamming was an art. Some of those transistors were used as diodes instead of actually a transistor; so they could advertise "more transistors" and "more is better". This I learned from Popular Electronics magazine back around 1963.


So, semi-conductors and related items, those resistors, diodes, capacitors, and transistors, take the place of the old vacuum tubes in the electronic circuits (remember those vacuum tubes in dad's old TV set? My dad would take them down to the corner drug store to test on the machine and then buy a new one if needed ...those machines are long gone!)


Then "integrated circuits" came into being. These microscopic wonders incorporated entire circuits of all those items resistors, diodes, capacitors (these I am not certain about as being in the ic's), and transistors, as well as the "wiring" paths to connect them all. An entire circuit board (and more) in a tiny chip the size of a fingernail!


Even these were surpassed in miniaturization with the advent of cpu's for computers and similar equipment. It is simply astonishing as to the power contained within a package about the size of a Zippo lighter.



Next time, we should discuss computer storage drives.



Edit to add:  yes, integrated circuits (and cpu's) include capacitors. For an overview (and a microphotograph of the circuitry) see







Community Manager
Community Manager

@fffred wins! Such a breadth of computer knowledge you have 🖥 I feel like I need to come up with more difficult trivia questions!

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