The CPU is the brain of the computer while a Core is just a part of the brain. If you take CPU as an organism and Core as a cell, then it would be fair to say that the core is an independent life form living inside its host.
In this article, we will go over the most important differences in functionality and purpose between a CPU and a core.
What is a CPU?
A CPU (central processing unit) is the electronic circuit that carries out arithmetic and logic operations for computer programs. It is a computer component that interprets and executes instructions to perform operations in the installed applications.
In other words, a CPU is the brains of the computer – it performs all instructions given by software which in turn give commands to do certain tasks e.g. play music on your MP3 player, watch videos on YouTube and display them on your PC, or even just navigate across websites with ease! You need a CPU to be able to do anything on your device.
A CPU is composed of three sub-units: Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU), Control Unit (CU), and the Memory Management Unit (MMU).
A CPU is a device that processes the software, handles and crunches numbers, performs the logical operation, and controls the input/output operations on the computer.
While the CPU is an electronic circuit that carries out instructions to perform calculation, it can be divided into multiple cores that can execute multiple instructions simultaneously.
A single processing unit may have multiple cores in it.
It is possible to have more than just one CPU. Many newer computers (such as HP Pavilion or Envy) have two or more CPUs working in harmony as if each is their own separate thing and appear as different processors under your Control Panel. It would be like having three brains – think about it; maybe that’s why they’re so expensive!
However, you cannot just simply fit any old number of any old type of processor into the socket though: your motherboard must support them. This is because the sockets used on motherboards are specialized for a certain number of cores.
For example, if you have a motherboard with six-core processors, it is not possible to fit just one single two-core processor or four three core processors in there.
Each socket only supports one five-core processor, although sometimes cheaper motherboard sockets can accept multiple cores but will only work at the slowest speed of the installed cores. For example, if you install two three-core CPUs in a motherboard that has an X6 socket, don’t expect it to run at 3.6GHz – it’ll probably run much slower!
What is a Core?
A core is an execution unit inside the computer’s CPU. It receives instructions and executes them independently of any other core within the CPU. A core may consist of multiple execution units.
In other words, the core is the individual piece of a CPU that carries out instructions in software.
The main function of a core is to execute instructions. It carries out instructions for arithmetic, logic, control, and input/output operations.
The number of cores that a CPU contains determines how many instructions can be executed simultaneously. One core processor can execute one instruction at a time while two core processors can perform two instructions simultaneously.
Typically, every program you run will have its own core. Therefore if you play music with software (say Windows Media Player) while browsing an article on your web browser, there will be two cores in action at the same time: one for playing the track and another for displaying what you see on screen.
However, some programs may require more than one core to function properly. For example, video editing software such as Sony Vegas Pro 12 requires two cores: one to carry out instructions from the user, and another to render each frame displayed into a video file on your PC so that it all comes together once rendered.
Also, there are some programs that require multiple cores to work together in order for the program to function. For example, Adobe Photoshop takes advantage of multiple cores and therefore, will not run on a computer with only one core processor.