One vital part of your computer is the central processing unit, short for CPU, without which the computer cannot function.
The CPU’s primary role is to interpret data from a peripheral or a computer program. The CPU then either sends data to your monitor or performs the operation asked by the peripheral. The peripheral could be a mouse, keyboard, or printer.
Generally, some computer parts can wear and degrade after a long time of usage. Users have often wondered about the average lifespan of an essential component like the CPU.
Now, here’s the question.
How Long Do CPUs Last?
The CPU has no moving parts, so it does not wear out in the traditional sense. A CPU can last decades under regular usage before it fails. While essential computer components like hard drives and fans may wear out much sooner, most computer CPUs become obsolete before they even stop working.
How Manufacturers Determine CPU Lifespan
Manufacturers use silicone to make processors. Sometimes, the silicon raw material may contain arsenic and boron residues. Because manufacturers have studied several ways in which processors deteriorate, they have developed production techniques that follow precise specifications.
Manufacturers use data to determine the Mean Time to Failure (MTTF) of the longevity of computer processors. MTTF refers to the average lifetime of a batch of processors from their production date.
A University of Illinois report states that most chip manufacturers use an MTTF of at least 20 years to ensure a chip remains functional even beyond the duration of a manufacturer’s guarantee. Apart from the chips used, what other factors determine CPU lifespan?
Other Factors That Determine CPU Lifespan
Several factors determine a processor’s lifespan. Internal factors include the movement of metal atoms in the layers of the chip and possible contamination of processor parts. External factors include heat and electric power surges.
Another factor that determines CPU lifespan is its age. Older generation CPUs struggle with recent advanced computer operating systems and software. If you use an older generation CP, upgrading to a new one is advisable to use software that is more recent.
Types of CPUs
There are different types of CPUs, and each type comes with its characteristics, power, and efficiency.
We use the computer for different reasons. It is therefore vital to know the different types of CPUs and the type best suited for you.
We classify CPUs according to the number of processing units (or cores) available in each chip. CPUs may come with one (single-core), two (dual-core), four (quad-core), seven (Hexa-core), and ten (deca-core) processors.
Let us examine them one after another.
Single-core processors: A single-core processor has only one core on the chip and can only execute and compute one thread at a time. As a result, single-core computers consume a significant amount of time.
The single-core processor is the earliest form of processor available and is common in many personal and business computers. Since it can execute only one command, the performance of single-core computers can drastically reduce when fed with multiple tasks.
Dual-core processors: A dual-core processor contains two separate processors working in the same integrated circuit simultaneously. Dual-core processors can handle operations up to twice as quickly as a single processor. The operating system can perform most activities in parallel because each core has its cache.
CPUs generated more heat and required more power as single-core clock rates continued to rise. Scientists created dual-core processors to boost performance while generating less heat as they use approximately the same amount of energy.
Although a dual-core system possesses twice the processing capability of a single-core machine, this does not always imply that it will work twice as quickly. The reason is that some operating systems and programs are not ready to undertake multiple tasks.
Quad-core processors: A quad-core processor contains four cores, each of which reads and executes CPU commands. Each unit works with other circuits on the chip, including cache, memory management, and I/O ports.
A quad-core processor can execute multiple commands simultaneously, boosting overall speed for programs that support parallel processing. Manufacturers usually assemble the processor’s cores into a single or many semiconductor wafers within one integrated circuit.
The quad-core CPU is an improved version of multiple core CPU functionality and design with four processing units on a single processor.
Quad-core allows for excellent multitasking, like a dual-core CPU, which divides the burden between the cores. People who need to run numerous programs at once, such as gamers, use multi-core CPUs.
Hexa-core processors: These are the six-core multi-core CPUs, which perform tasks faster than quad-core and dual-core processors. Hexa-core processors are simple for users of personal computers.
Hexa-core processors are now standard in smartphones.
Octa-core processors: Octa processors have eight different cores to perform tasks more efficiently and quickly than quad-core processors.
The latest octa-core processors comprise a pair of quad-core processors that divide tasks into distinct categories. The system uses low-powered core sets to execute routine and advanced commands.
The system rapidly activates all four sets of cores when there is an emergency or high demand for processing power.
Deca-core processors: Deca-core processors have ten independent systems for executing and managing tasks more efficiently than other processors produced up to this point.
The best solution for computer users who carry out intensive tasks is to own a PC or device with a deca-core processor.
Deca-core processors have more power than other processors and are excellent at multitasking. With added superior features, deca-core processors are becoming increasingly popular.
Most smartphones today come with low-cost and trendy deca-core CPUs. Most gadgets on the market now have new processors that provide customers with additional helpful functions.
The central processing unit (CPU) comprises six parts: control unit, clock, cache, registers, buses, and arithmetic logic unit.
All six components work together for the CPU to work effectively.
Clock: The CPU has an in-built clock that controls all the computer’s components. It does this by emitting a periodic electrical pulse that ensures all the parts work together in a coordinated manner.
The frequency of the electric pulses defines the clock speed. The Hertz unit of measurement measures the clock’s tick rate. A higher frequency means that the system can execute more commands at any given time.
CPUs typically ran at 3 to 5 megahertz (MHz) in the eighties, translating to 3 to 5 million pulses per second. Processors today commonly run at speeds of 3 to 5 gigahertz (GHz), which translates to 3 to 5 billion pulses per second.
Cache: Every CPU has an in-built small, high-speed random-access memory called cache. The cache stores data and instructions that the processor will likely use again.
The advantage of the cache is that processing is faster as the CPU does not fetch instructions from the RAM for processing.
Registers: The CPU contains small pieces of high-speed memory called registers that store data required during processing. Examples include:
- The address of the next-to-be-executed instruction;
- The set of instructions the processor is currently executing, and
- Calculation results.
Processors have varied numbers of registers that serve different purposes. However, they have the following in common:
- program counter
- data memory register
- memory address register
- current instructions register
Bus: The system sends control signals and data between the processor and other computer components via super-fast internet connection called buses. Buses are of three types – address, data, and control buses.
The system sends memory addresses from the processor to other components like the main memory and I/O devices via the address bus. The data bus transmits information between the processor and other parts. Control bus carries control signals, including the clock’s pulses from the processor to other system parts.
Arithmetic logic unit: This unit performs arithmetic and logical calculations and links primary and secondary memory and storage.
How Do I Make My CPU Last Longer?
As earlier stated, the CPU is a non-moving part. So, it should naturally last longer than other computer parts as it does not wear away.
However, overheating can damage your CPU. To preserve its lifespan, keep it from overheating. This task necessitates the use of an adequately mounted heat sink such as a thermal paste. Also, there must be sufficient airflow through the cases.
Computer parts like fans and disks can wear and degrade over time. Non-moving parts, on the other hand, should survive a lot longer unless they get too hot.
If you need to use your computer for high-end projects like graphics and gaming, upgrade your CPU to a more powerful processor. Using less-powered processors to undertake advanced tasks will cause it to overclock and consequently reduce its lifespan.
A computer’s central processing unit retrieves and executes commands. It comprises a control unit, an arithmetic logic unit, and numerous registers.
Being a non-moving part the CPU can last decades under regular usage. However, overheating can damage the CPU.
The use of an adequately mounted heat sink is essential to prevent overheating. Also, ensure that there’s adequate airflow through the cases.
To prevent overclocking the chip, upgrade to a more powerful processor if you need to use your computer for high-end tasks like gaming and graphics.