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What Is a CPU Monitor?

Article Details
  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 19 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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The central processing unit (CPU) within a computer is one of the most important components of a computer. If the CPU dies or fails, then the entire computer will either simply not start up or will run poorly and may crash often. In order to try to prevent these types of problems, there are programs that can act as a CPU monitor to allow a computer user to be more aware of any situations occurring with a computer’s CPU. A CPU monitor program will allow a computer user to track the usage of the computer’s CPU while running programs, to watch for overheating, and to ensure proper performance out of the chip.

Within a computer, the CPU tends to act as the heart and the brains of the computer. It works by regulating the performance of all other programs, while also processing the information going through the computer. This means that the CPU is often under great stress during computer usage and that it can fail rather easily if not properly cooled and maintained. A CPU monitor allows a computer user to watch for these types of problems and act accordingly.

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One of the most important things a CPU monitor can allow a user to do is watch the temperature of a CPU and be aware of any issues that may increase the temperature significantly. Most computers have a CPU that is connected to a heatsink that through heat transfer and the use of fans or water cooling draws heat away from the CPU. In some computers, however, this may not be enough and the CPU can potentially overheat, leading to problems in performance. This is especially true of high end computers or those that are overclocked for increased performance.

A CPU monitor allows someone to watch the temperature of the CPU and stop running a program if necessary to maintain proper performance. Computer users can also use a CPU monitor to watch for changes in performance, to ensure the computer is running properly. If the CPU on a computer is dying, then a CPU monitor can allow a user to detect issues and see problems that may require the CPU be replaced.

This can be especially helpful for someone working in the information technology (IT) or computer science fields. For these types of professionals, monitoring CPU performance can help indicate or eliminate CPU problems as a source of general computer maintenance issues. Larger computer diagnostic software will often include a CPU monitor to help determine where problems may exist with the computer’s hardware.

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