Inside the Machine
An Illustrated Introduction to Microprocessors and Computer Architecture
Publisher: No Starch Press
Final Release Date: December 2006
Pages: 320

Computers perform countless tasks ranging from the business critical to the recreational, but regardless of how differently they may look and behave, they're all amazingly similar in basic function. Once you understand how the microprocessor-or central processing unit (CPU)-works, you'll have a firm grasp of the fundamental concepts at the heart of all modern computing.

Inside the Machine, from the co-founder of the highly respected Ars Technica website, explains how microprocessors operate-what they do and how they do it. The book uses analogies, full-color diagrams, and clear language to convey the ideas that form the basis of modern computing. After discussing computers in the abstract, the book examines specific microprocessors from Intel, IBM, and Motorola, from the original models up through today's leading processors. It contains the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available (online or in print) on Intel's latest processors: the Pentium M, Core, and Core 2 Duo. Inside the Machine also explains technology terms and concepts that readers often hear but may not fully understand, such as "pipelining," "L1 cache," "main memory," "superscalar processing," and "out-of-order execution."

Includes discussion of:

  • Parts of the computer and microprocessor
  • Programming fundamentals (arithmetic instructions, memory accesses, control flow instructions, and data types)
  • Intermediate and advanced microprocessor concepts (branch prediction and speculative execution)
  • Intermediate and advanced microprocessor concepts (branch prediction and speculative execution)
  • Intermediate and advanced computing concepts (instruction set architectures, RISC and CISC, the memory hierarchy, and encoding and decoding machine language instructions)
  • 64-bit computing vs. 32-bit computing
  • Caching and performance

    Inside the Machine is perfect for students of science and engineering, IT and business professionals, and the growing community of hardware tinkerers who like to dig into the guts of their machines.

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    Product Details
    About the Author
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    oreillyInside the Machine

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    Great Intro to Microprocessor Architecture

    By Dave Walz-Burkett

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Inside the Machine:

    Jon Stokes takes us on a journey through time, beginning with a trivial hypothetical processor, marching through the fundamental design decisions and trade-offs that microprocessor designers have made over the years with subsequent versions of their products.

    Each major component of microprocessor architecture is described. Rarely does a book so perfectly describe a complex subject in simple and easy to understand terms. The book is full of excellent color illustrations that help drive the subject matter home.

    In the introduction, Jon describes the book as an "introduction to computers that is intended to fill the gap that exists between classic but more challenging introductions to computer architecture...and the growing mass of works that are simply too basic for motivated non-specialist readers." That statement is spot on.

    Topics covered include 'basic computing concepts', 'mechanics of program execution', 'pipelined execution', 'superscalar execution', '64-bit computing and X86-64' and 'caching and performance'. Processors covered include Intel (Pentium, Pentium Pro, Pentium 4, Pentium M, Core Duo, and Core 2 Duo) and Motorola (PowerPC 601, 603, 604, 604e, 750 aka G3, 7400 aka G4, G4E and 970 aka G5).

    This book provides excellent, in-depth coverage of real-world microprocessor design. It earns top marks from me for its easy accessibility and high quality writing.

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