In computer science, the central unit ( ZE ) is the part of a computer system that controls and controls the other parts. In particular, the term central unit is used to distinguish peripheral devices . The name, however, depends heavily on the context under consideration: whether, for example, a single microchip or an entire PC is viewed as the central unit depends on the granularity with which the system is viewed. The term is typically used for the following systems, depending on the context.
- At the level of computer architecture with central unit the most Central Processing Unit meant. The main memory would then, for example, already be part of the periphery. In most cases, however, the term main processor is used instead of the central unit .
- The unit of CPU, motherboard , hardware interfaces and sometimes also the main memory is often referred to as the central processing unit. Hard disks , screen , keyboard and the like then belong to the periphery. In a pragmatic way, this is sometimes (especially in administration) expanded so that everything that is integrated in the computer's housing is understood as part of the central processing unit (i.e. especially the hard drives).
- In a system made up of several computers, an entire computer (including peripheral devices) that controls the others is also called the central unit.