Where Does the CPU Store Its Computations?

Being an enthusiast laptop savvy, Evan Charles shares his wisdom on LaptopEcho to help others pick the right machine. He loves guiding people to get...

Nowadays, almost everybody owns a computer. You probably know a thing or two about your computer. The CPU is the brain of the computer performing all manner of tasks. All data is processed in the CPU.

But where does the CPU store its computations? How does the CPU store data? CPU stores computations in registers. Registers are temporary memories similar to CPU caches and RAM. However, they are very tiny and fast as opposed to RAM. There are different registers for different computations.

Registers are very different from RAM and caches and play a vital role in computer performances. They are tied to the architecture of CPUs and cannot be added or modified. They are also read-only and write-only for specific computations.

Where Does the CPU Store Its Computations?

CPU stores its computations in registers which are temporary memories in the CPU. The computations are stored in different registers. For example, there are registers for addresses, numeric data, truth values, etc. Different registers will hold different computations and have different tasks. A register comes from the CPU cache. However, they are temporary, small, and much faster.

Where Does the CPU Store Its Computations

The build and function of registers are very similar to RAM. They execute programs and operations pretty fast. Registers are more efficient since they are small and faster. They play a critical role in the performance of the CPU. But what exactly are registers?

What Are a Registers?

So, what exactly are registers? Registers are part of the undivided CPU architecture. In basic terms, registers are tied to the CPU architecture and can be added or removed. Most CPUs feature 8 general-purpose registers.

Registers don’t form part of the CPU. Instead, they are subsidiaries of memory locations for computations. While they look similar to RAM in function and build, they are very fast. They perform arithmetic computations very fast through the guidance of control units.

You can consider registers as temporary memory storage for computations in the CPU. They are minuscule storages that can be accessed randomly. Furthermore, registers can be added, removed, and modified. Some registers are write-only while others are read-only. They work separately from the main CPU storage. The CPU can load data from larger storage into the registers.

If I die deep into computer memories, there is a term called memory hierarchy. Memory hierarchy shows how different types of memories work in a computer. CPU registers are the fastest and rank top while hard drives are slow and rank bottom.

What’s more, registers come in different sizes to show the number of bits they can hold. The common size registers are the 8-bit, 12-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit, and 64-bit. You can further subdivide bigger bits into small bits.

For example, a 64-bit register can be divided into a 16-bit register 4 times. Now let’s see how the registers work.

How Does A Register Work?

Registers work through the guidance of control units. The control units hold, transfer and perform arithmetics. However, as we indicated earlier, there are different types of registers to serve different computations.

How Does A Register Work

For instance, we have the index registers that store points and allow the CPU to find necessary data. They are useful registers that allow CUPS to perform efficiently and avoid slow speeds. They do this by executing operations at good speeds, therefore, reducing memory storage.

When CPUs need to make computations, data is retrieved from larger files in the CPUs. They are then stored in registers for easy access. So in simple terms, registers work by storing data or allowing CPUs to locate specific data and perform various arithmetic operations.

Some registers can be used to store data while others store addresses. It all comes down to the type of register and allocated purpose. We’ve already seen registers that can be added, removed, and modified. So, what are the types of registers?

Different Types of Registers

There are several types of registers on the CPU. The exact number and type depend on the CPU architecture. Some registers might be more important than others depending on the purpose they serve.

There are 7 major types of registers. Let’s see them and what each register does.

  • Memory Data Register: The memory data registers are also known as MDR. They store data for various arithmetic operations. The registers store data for the next clock cycle. They are also referred to as the memory buffer register.
  • Memory Address Registers: These are also known as MAR and help hold and locate addresses in the primary CPU memory. The registers hold the next memory address to be executed.
  • Accumulator Registers: This is a data storing memory and one that is frequently used. Accumulator registers come in different numbers in the processors.
  • Instruction Registers: Instructions registers hold the next instruction to be executed. Instructions from a PC are fetched and stored in this register awaiting the next instruction.
  • General Purpose Registers: These are registers that store data for ongoing operations. Information on these registers is accessed by assembling programming.
  • Condition Code Register: These are registers that store the values for condition codes.
  • Program Counter Registers: The registers track execution of programs. They house the instructions for the next operation. Additionally, the registers count the number of instructions.
  • Constant Registers: These are registers that hold read-only values.

How is Cache Different from Register in Storing Computations?

It’s common for people to confuse cache with registers. It’s important to understand the difference between the two. Registers as indicated earlier store and retrieve data during computations or operations. Caches on the other hand are used during the writing and reading in the secondary memory.

What’s more, caches are bigger and slower. Registers on the other hand are small and execute operations very fast. In size, the smallest register is around 8 bites while the smallest cache is 2kb.

It’s common for people to confuse registers as cache since small caches make CPU operations efficient. Registers operate in a clock cycle while caches can access memory faster. However, it’s important to note the differences. Registers store intermediate computations iN CPUs which is not the case with caches.

What is the Role of RAM in CPU Computations

RAM is quite different from caches and registers. RAM is an external memory that stores apps and operating systems to ensure the smooth operations of computers. It’s also different from hard disk memories. It ensures there is no buffering when computers are operating, ensuring faster and smooth operations.

What is the Role of RAM in CPU Computations

As you can see, RAM does the same task as a cache but with very big data. RAM and cache store and retrieve secondary memory which is different from registers.


Well, that’s it from me! Now you know how data is stored in computer memory. You know what happens in the CPU and where all the CPU computations are stored. Registers form a critical part of the CPU ensuring smooth and efficient execution of programs. They help save on memory and ensure computers operate faster.

Registers are tiny and built upon the architecture of the CPU. There are also different registers to serve different purposes. While cache and RAM store secondary memory registers store computations.

Evan Charles

Evan Charles

Being an enthusiast laptop savvy, Evan Charles shares his wisdom on LaptopEcho to help others pick the right machine. He loves guiding people to get the best out of their laptops as he does.

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