The CPU is the core component that defines a computing device, and while it is of critical importance, the CPU can only function alongside other hardware. The silicon chip sits in a special socket located on the main circuit board (motherboard or mainboard) inside the device. It is separate from the memory, which is where information is temporarily stored. It is also separate from the graphics card or graphics chip, which renders the video and 3D graphics that are displayed on your screen.
CPUs are built by placing billions of microscopic transistors onto a single computer chip. Those transistors allow it to make the calculations it needs to run programs that are stored on your system’s memory. They’re effectively minute gates that switch on or off, thereby conveying the ones or zeros that translate into everything you do with the device, be it watching videos or writing an email.