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Computer Architecture

Introduction to Microprocessor Programming
Assembly language involves using instructions that are mnemonics called opcodes, along with values and/or addresses in hexadecimal notation. To make learning as easy as possible, we'll first learn how to program a simple microprocessor, the 6502. More ...

The AMD Athlon 64 Processor
AMD's Athlon 64 processor, released in September 2003, was their first 64-bit processor targeted for the workstation market to compete with Intel's Pentium 4. AMD's first 64-bit processor was the Opteron, released earlier in April that same year, targeted for the server market to compete with Intel's Xeon processor. More ...

The Fetch, Decode, Execute Cycle
The Fetch, Decode, Execute cycle is paramount to the functioning of a microprocessor. In this article I'll describe the Fetch, Decode, Execute cycle simplified to its bare-bones in a highly simplified fictitious microprocessor. More ...

Interrupt Request Lines (IRQs)
What happens when the CPU (Central Processor Unit) is busy doing something, like defragmenting the hard disk, and you press a key on the keyboard? An interrupt (IRQ) is a connection between a hardware device and the CPU. A hardware device uses it's assigned IRQ line to signal or interrupt the CPU when it needs attention. More ...

AMD's Phenom II Processor
Phenom II is AMD's family of 45 nm multi-core processors and is the successor to the original Phenom. In the Phenom II, the shared L3 cache increased from 2MB to 6MB. The chip has an integrated, dual-channel memory controller that supports DDR3 RAM, and 4000MHz HyperTransport technology. More ...

Basic Decoder Circuitry
A microprocessors is a circuit that reads and execute program instructions called opcodes. A decoder is a circuit that converts an opcode into signals tused to control the circuitry of the microprocessor to enable it to perform the instruction. More ...

Intel's Dual-Core Core i3 Processor
Core i3 is an entry-level 2-core processor using the 32nm Westmere micro-architecture. With a Thermal Design Power (TDP) of 73 watts, the i3-530 is a cool-running chip that doesn't gobble loads of electricity, so those looking for a power-efficient, quiet machine will be happy with it. More ...

Integrated Circuit Design Flow
The process of integrated circuit design can be divided into stages: system design, logic design, circuit design, layout design, fabrication and testing. More ...

AMD's Phenom Processor
Since 2005 AMD has used the Athlon name for their processors. This changed in 2007 when they released their new processor called Phenom. So we must ask the question; what is the difference between the Athlon and the Phenom? More ...

Pentium P5 Processor
The Pentium P5 processor was introduced in 1993 was the first superscalar processor. It featured two integer pipelines and a pipelined floating-point unit. This article describes other innovations introduced in the P5. More ...

How Computer Chips are Made
The oxygen is removed from silica by heating it with carbon. A tiny seed of silicon is then dipped into molten silicon. As the tiny crystal is slowly lifted out of the crucible silicon crystallizes around it. More ...

Direct Memory Access (DMA)
In early computers, all data transfers required the processor to read and write single words from memory until the entire transfer is complete. With DMA, the DMA controller takes control of the system buses to move data between the device and main memory. More ...