In computer architecture, a control bus is part of the system bus and is used by CPUs for communicating with other devices within the computer. While the address bus carries the information about the device with which the CPU is communicating and the data bus carries the actual data being processed, the control bus carries commands from the CPU and returns status signals from the devices. For example, if the data is being read or written to the device the appropriate line (read or write) will be active (logic one).
The number and type of lines in a control bus varies but there are basic lines common to all microprocessors, such as:
The RD and WR signals of the control bus control the reading or writing of RAM, avoiding bus contention on the data bus.
Additional lines are microprocessor-dependent, such as:
Systems that have more than one bus master have additional control bus signals that control which bus master drives the address bus, avoiding bus contention on the address bus.