CPU core voltage is the amount of power that it takes to run a computer's central processing unit (CPU). It is measured in terms of voltage and can vary depending upon the size of the processor. Each central processing unit has an internal speed that determines the CPU core voltage. Faster processors usually require higher amounts of voltage to operate efficiently.
A central processing unit is sometimes referred to as the computer's hard drive. A processor is an important part of a computer's hardware components, but it is not the hard drive itself. Processors can be thought of as the "brain" of a computer system. All applications and functions must go through the processor and are controlled by it.
Without a CPU, a computer would not be able to operate. Electric current flows through the processor via a computer's motherboard in order for it to function. Computer manufacturers and designers come up with certain CPU core voltage requirements that will balance a system's performance and cooling requirements. Since the processor uses electricity, a cooling fan is necessary to prevent the system from overheating.
The voltage simply indicates the amount of electrical current. Higher voltages correspond to a greater use of electricity. When the required voltage is obtained from an electrical outlet, it has a lower risk of overheating than a mobile power source, such as a battery. In newer processors, cooling requirements do not necessarily correspond to the amount of required voltage.
A higher CPU core voltage can indicate that a processor has a greater capacity. Some designers are finding ways to reduce CPU core voltage while maintaining processor performance, in order to reduce the chances of overheating. Another concern with a high CPU core voltage is wear and tear on the processor. Higher voltages tend to result in shortened CPU lives, especially if machines are required to be powered on for extended periods of time.
Besides processor speed, core voltage can be determined by other factors, such as the design of the computer's motherboard. Older CPUs sometimes require more voltage than new PCs due to design improvements and innovations. Smaller laptop devices tend to be a challenge for designers as the cooling fans are not always adequate in preventing the batteries from overheating.
Smaller processor sizes can decrease the amount of required core voltage. Compressing the processor's transistors is one way to accomplish this without decreasing performance levels. Clock speeds can be maintained or even improved through this type of design strategy.