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learning computer architecture (books? kits?)

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September 24, 2004 2:28:30 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

I want to spend a few months studying computer architecture, starting
with the electronics.

The knowledge that i'm starting with, is that I just know logic gates
(on paper), i've done some karnough maps before, and I have designed a
full adder in VHDL using XiLinx. So my knowledge is small, and I have
no experience whatsoever. The only circuit i've ever made is
electricity not electronics - 2 wires a battery and a light bulb. I'd
like to change that during a couple of months self-study.

I've got 2 basic electronics books, one by Wakerly another by Gajski

Between them they cover latches, Adders, Flip flops, registers,
counters, ram, stacks, cmos, vhdl, and a little bit on processor
design- risc and cisc.

The thing is though
a)it all looks very theoretical, like VHDL. Is there any kit I could
get where I could try these things practically?
b)it's not computer centric at all, so doesn't build up to chipsets,
which is what i'm interested in. I don't really know which computer
architecture book to get, or if i would immediately be ready for
detailed manufacturer's documentation / white papers.

Any advice/methods are appreciated
thanks.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
September 24, 2004 10:33:34 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

Anon wrote:
>
> I want to spend a few months studying computer architecture, starting
> with the electronics.
>
> The knowledge that i'm starting with, is that I just know logic gates
> (on paper), i've done some karnough maps before, and I have designed a
> full adder in VHDL using XiLinx. So my knowledge is small, and I have
> no experience whatsoever. The only circuit i've ever made is
> electricity not electronics - 2 wires a battery and a light bulb. I'd
> like to change that during a couple of months self-study.
>
> I've got 2 basic electronics books, one by Wakerly another by Gajski
>
> Between them they cover latches, Adders, Flip flops, registers,
> counters, ram, stacks, cmos, vhdl, and a little bit on processor
> design- risc and cisc.
>
> The thing is though
> a)it all looks very theoretical, like VHDL. Is there any kit I could
> get where I could try these things practically?
> b)it's not computer centric at all, so doesn't build up to chipsets,
> which is what i'm interested in. I don't really know which computer
> architecture book to get, or if i would immediately be ready for
> detailed manufacturer's documentation / white papers.
>
> Any advice/methods are appreciated
> thanks.
------------------
Go get some chips and a white solderless proteyping board and a
regulated +5V supply and build a bunch of them.

And here's a site you should look at:
http://www.play-hookey.com
http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/
http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/electronics/
http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/experiments/

-Steve
--
-Steve Walz rstevew@armory.com ftp://ftp.armory.com/pub/user/rstevew
Electronics Site!! 1000's of Files and Dirs!! With Schematics Galore!!
http://www.armory.com/~rstevew or http://www.armory.com/~rstevew/Public
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
September 24, 2004 11:38:06 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

q_q_anonymous@yahoo.co.uk (Anon) wrote in message news:<61f945bb.0409232128.7303a134@posting.google.com>...
> I want to spend a few months studying computer architecture, starting
> with the electronics.
>
> The knowledge that i'm starting with, is that I just know logic gates
> (on paper), i've done some karnough maps before, and I have designed a
> full adder in VHDL using XiLinx. So my knowledge is small, and I have
> no experience whatsoever. The only circuit i've ever made is
> electricity not electronics - 2 wires a battery and a light bulb. I'd
> like to change that during a couple of months self-study.
>
> I've got 2 basic electronics books, one by Wakerly another by Gajski
>
> Between them they cover latches, Adders, Flip flops, registers,
> counters, ram, stacks, cmos, vhdl, and a little bit on processor
> design- risc and cisc.
>
> The thing is though
> a)it all looks very theoretical, like VHDL. Is there any kit I could
> get where I could try these things practically?
> b)it's not computer centric at all, so doesn't build up to chipsets,
> which is what i'm interested in. I don't really know which computer
> architecture book to get, or if i would immediately be ready for
> detailed manufacturer's documentation / white papers.
>
> Any advice/methods are appreciated
> thanks.

You could download MPLAB (It's free) from MicroChip and write some
RISC code for their "PIC" type (RISC) processors and run it (simulate
it) on your PC without having to get your hands dirty.

Then you could buy the actual hardware i.e. a PIC and some other
components (for a few pounds) and solder them together and transfer
you code into the PIC with the "PICSTART" programmer (maybe a £100 ?)
and try it out.

If you are a natural "fault-finder" i.e. a sort of technical
gun-slinger - then you will succeed (and get hooked for life)
otherwise you will get *very* frustrated, either way, you should
borrow a 'scope and it will take more than a few months... or years...

For (small) PICs write in "assembler".

For others e.g. CISC type processors write in C.

Don't use BASIC, otherwise, as the fella said, you will be "crippled
for life".

Cheers
Robin
Related resources
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
September 24, 2004 5:00:41 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

robin.pain@tesco.net (robin.pain@tesco.net) wrote:

>For (small) PICs write in "assembler".
>
>For others e.g. CISC type processors write in C.

Good advice above.

>Don't use BASIC, otherwise, as the fella said, you will be "crippled
>for life".

But this is wrong. People can learn.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
September 25, 2004 4:50:21 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

chrisv <chrisv@nospam.invalid> wrote in message news:<75o8l058l6ts9ndlcemhrv3528hlu7i65i@4ax.com>...
> robin.pain@tesco.net (robin.pain@tesco.net) wrote:
>
> >For (small) PICs write in "assembler".
> >
> >For others e.g. CISC type processors write in C.
>
> Good advice above.
>
> >Don't use BASIC, otherwise, as the fella said, you will be "crippled
> >for life".
>
> But this is wrong. People can learn.

Yes, of course. It was a tongue-in-cheek comment of EWD.
September 26, 2004 1:18:55 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

"R. Steve Walz" <rstevew@armory.com> wrote in message news:<4153C126.3BFB@armory.com>...
> Anon wrote:
> >
> > I want to spend a few months studying computer architecture, starting
> > with the electronics.
> >
> > The knowledge that i'm starting with, is that I just know logic gates
> > (on paper), i've done some karnough maps before, and I have designed a
> > full adder in VHDL using XiLinx. So my knowledge is small, and I have
> > no experience whatsoever. The only circuit i've ever made is
> > electricity not electronics - 2 wires a battery and a light bulb. I'd
> > like to change that during a couple of months self-study.
> >
> > I've got 2 basic electronics books, one by Wakerly another by Gajski
> >
> > Between them they cover latches, Adders, Flip flops, registers,
> > counters, ram, stacks, cmos, vhdl, and a little bit on processor
> > design- risc and cisc.
> >
> > The thing is though
> > a)it all looks very theoretical, like VHDL. Is there any kit I could
> > get where I could try these things practically?
> > b)it's not computer centric at all, so doesn't build up to chipsets,
> > which is what i'm interested in. I don't really know which computer
> > architecture book to get, or if i would immediately be ready for
> > detailed manufacturer's documentation / white papers.
> >
> > Any advice/methods are appreciated
> > thanks.
> ------------------
> Go get some chips and a white solderless proteyping board and a
> regulated +5V supply and build a bunch of them.
>
> And here's a site you should look at:
> http://www.play-hookey.com
> http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/
> http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/electronics/
> http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/experiments/
>
> -Steve


Looking at http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/experiments/it does
clocks and counters, but i'm also interested in buses, bridges,
multipliers/PLLs/DLLs
I want to wire up a clock to a multiplier, to a bus.
September 26, 2004 9:38:04 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

"R. Steve Walz" <rstevew@armory.com> wrote in message news:<4153C126.3BFB@armory.com>...
> Anon wrote:
> >
> > I want to spend a few months studying computer architecture, starting
> > with the electronics.
> >
> > The knowledge that i'm starting with, is that I just know logic gates
> > (on paper), i've done some karnough maps before, and I have designed a
> > full adder in VHDL using XiLinx. So my knowledge is small, and I have
> > no experience whatsoever. The only circuit i've ever made is
> > electricity not electronics - 2 wires a battery and a light bulb. I'd
> > like to change that during a couple of months self-study.
> >
> > I've got 2 basic electronics books, one by Wakerly another by Gajski
> >
> > Between them they cover latches, Adders, Flip flops, registers,
> > counters, ram, stacks, cmos, vhdl, and a little bit on processor
> > design- risc and cisc.
> >
> > The thing is though
> > a)it all looks very theoretical, like VHDL. Is there any kit I could
> > get where I could try these things practically?
> > b)it's not computer centric at all, so doesn't build up to chipsets,
> > which is what i'm interested in. I don't really know which computer
> > architecture book to get, or if i would immediately be ready for
> > detailed manufacturer's documentation / white papers.
> >
> > Any advice/methods are appreciated
> > thanks.
> ------------------
> Go get some chips and a white solderless proteyping board and a
> regulated +5V supply and build a bunch of them.
>
> And here's a site you should look at:
> http://www.play-hookey.com
> http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/
> http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/electronics/
> http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/experiments/
>
> -Steve


google seems to be a bit slow in putting my posts on, it's been about
20 hours and my reply hasn't been archived, i don't know if it's been
received at all by any servers.
so here it is, I hope it doesn't appear twice.

I'd also like to put a bus on the board, a clock, a multiplier, DLLs,
PLLs.
is there any further link or resource that i'd need to cover that?


thanks
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
September 27, 2004 12:18:16 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

Anon wrote:
>
> "R. Steve Walz" <rstevew@armory.com> wrote in message news:<4153C126.3BFB@armory.com>...
> > Anon wrote:
> > >
> > > I want to spend a few months studying computer architecture, starting
> > > with the electronics.
> > >
> > > The knowledge that i'm starting with, is that I just know logic gates
> > > (on paper), i've done some karnough maps before, and I have designed a
> > > full adder in VHDL using XiLinx. So my knowledge is small, and I have
> > > no experience whatsoever. The only circuit i've ever made is
> > > electricity not electronics - 2 wires a battery and a light bulb. I'd
> > > like to change that during a couple of months self-study.
> > >
> > > I've got 2 basic electronics books, one by Wakerly another by Gajski
> > >
> > > Between them they cover latches, Adders, Flip flops, registers,
> > > counters, ram, stacks, cmos, vhdl, and a little bit on processor
> > > design- risc and cisc.
> > >
> > > The thing is though
> > > a)it all looks very theoretical, like VHDL. Is there any kit I could
> > > get where I could try these things practically?
> > > b)it's not computer centric at all, so doesn't build up to chipsets,
> > > which is what i'm interested in. I don't really know which computer
> > > architecture book to get, or if i would immediately be ready for
> > > detailed manufacturer's documentation / white papers.
> > >
> > > Any advice/methods are appreciated
> > > thanks.
> > ------------------
> > Go get some chips and a white solderless proteyping board and a
> > regulated +5V supply and build a bunch of them.
> >
> > And here's a site you should look at:
> > http://www.play-hookey.com
> > http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/
> > http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/electronics/
> > http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/experiments/
> >
> > -Steve
>
> Looking at http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/experiments/it does
> clocks and counters, but i'm also interested in buses, bridges,
> multipliers/PLLs/DLLs
> I want to wire up a clock to a multiplier, to a bus.
--------------
Explain more clearly, none of that is related to digital computer
studies. What do *YOU* mean by "bus", "bridge", "multiplier",
and do you even know what PLL's are? What are DLL's, other than
..dll dynamic linked library files in Windows?? Did you mean PLDs
and PALs? A bus is just a set of parallel connections between parts
inmcomputer arechitecture, study the terms tri-state, open-collector,
and bipolar inputs and outputs. A multiplier is a synthesis circuit
for radio frequencies, as multiplication in computing is done by
successive addition or by synthetic processes in program code.

-Steve
--
-Steve Walz rstevew@armory.com ftp://ftp.armory.com/pub/user/rstevew
Electronics Site!! 1000's of Files and Dirs!! With Schematics Galore!!
http://www.armory.com/~rstevew or http://www.armory.com/~rstevew/Public
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
September 27, 2004 11:29:58 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

On 26 Sep 2004 09:18:55 -0700, q_q_anonymous@yahoo.co.uk (Anon) wrote:

>"R. Steve Walz" <rstevew@armory.com> wrote in message news:<4153C126.3BFB@armory.com>...
>> Anon wrote:
>> >
>> > I want to spend a few months studying computer architecture, starting
>> > with the electronics.
>> >
>> > The knowledge that i'm starting with, is that I just know logic gates
>> > (on paper), i've done some karnough maps before, and I have designed a
>> > full adder in VHDL using XiLinx. So my knowledge is small, and I have
>> > no experience whatsoever. The only circuit i've ever made is
>> > electricity not electronics - 2 wires a battery and a light bulb. I'd
>> > like to change that during a couple of months self-study.
>> >
>> > I've got 2 basic electronics books, one by Wakerly another by Gajski
>> >
>> > Between them they cover latches, Adders, Flip flops, registers,
>> > counters, ram, stacks, cmos, vhdl, and a little bit on processor
>> > design- risc and cisc.
>> >
>> > The thing is though
>> > a)it all looks very theoretical, like VHDL. Is there any kit I could
>> > get where I could try these things practically?
>> > b)it's not computer centric at all, so doesn't build up to chipsets,
>> > which is what i'm interested in. I don't really know which computer
>> > architecture book to get, or if i would immediately be ready for
>> > detailed manufacturer's documentation / white papers.
>> >
>> > Any advice/methods are appreciated
>> > thanks.
>> ------------------
>> Go get some chips and a white solderless proteyping board and a
>> regulated +5V supply and build a bunch of them.
>>
>> And here's a site you should look at:
>> http://www.play-hookey.com
>> http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/
>> http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/electronics/
>> http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/experiments/
>>
>> -Steve
>
>
>Looking at http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/experiments/it does
>clocks and counters, but i'm also interested in buses, bridges,
>multipliers/PLLs/DLLs
>I want to wire up a clock to a multiplier, to a bus.

Those are pretty advanced things for an amateur to be attempting... with
what goal? I'm not sure you need to be building such circuits to
understand how they work. e.g. DLL (Delay Locked Loop) is a fairly recent
name which Rambus coined and claims to have invented for use in memory
interfacing; I suspect that similar circuits have been in use for a while
by various people but it's one of the principal patents left in their case
against the memory mfrs.

There's lots of good docs available for free download. Start at
www.micron.com for data sheets and technical notes on their memory chips.
Intel's data sheets are very informative for their bus interfaces - hint:
look at early versions of them... e.g. the early P4 data sheets had timing
diagrams which showed exactly how the double pumping of the address bus and
quad pumping of the data bus works in relation to the system clock; later
versions of the P4 data sheets removed that info.

For buses, most of the definition docs for recent ones require membership
of a SIG to get at but I believe the AGP docs are still available through
Intel and it's basically a modification of the PCI Bus. You can probably
find docs by searching for some of the older standard buses, like the S100
which was one of the first buses used in the early microprocessor-based
computers. There might still be stuff available for STB Bus, VersaBus, VME
Bus, Multibus (an Intel one) and the PC ISA Bus.

Start reading.:-)

Rgds, George Macdonald

"Just because they're paranoid doesn't mean you're not psychotic" - Who, me??
September 28, 2004 3:04:19 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

On Mon, 27 Sep 2004 19:29:58 -0400, George Macdonald wrote:



> e.g. DLL (Delay Locked Loop) is a fairly recent
> name which Rambus coined and claims to have invented for use in memory
> interfacing; I suspect that similar circuits have been in use for a while
> by various people but it's one of the principal patents left in their case
> against the memory mfrs.

DLLs have been around since the year of the flood. I didn't see where
DamnBus tried to claim them too. Really? Someone should tel Xilinx! ;-)

A DLL is similar to a PLL except it uses digital (usually) delays as a
feedback mechanism instead of a charge-pump and VCO (again, usually).

One detects the phase and varies the phase by delays, the other varies the
frequency. Each has its benefits and problems.

--
Keith
September 28, 2004 5:44:21 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

George Macdonald <fammacd=!SPAM^nothanks@tellurian.com> wrote in message news:<65cfl090vsv7d17t9te52gvguq6v6q2b3q@4ax.com>...
> On 26 Sep 2004 09:18:55 -0700, q_q_anonymous@yahoo.co.uk (Anon) wrote:
>
> >"R. Steve Walz" <rstevew@armory.com> wrote in message news:<4153C126.3BFB@armory.com>...
> >> Anon wrote:
> >> >
> >> > I want to spend a few months studying computer architecture, starting
> >> > with the electronics.
> >> >
> >> > The knowledge that i'm starting with, is that I just know logic gates
> >> > (on paper), i've done some karnough maps before, and I have designed a
> >> > full adder in VHDL using XiLinx. So my knowledge is small, and I have
> >> > no experience whatsoever. The only circuit i've ever made is
> >> > electricity not electronics - 2 wires a battery and a light bulb. I'd
> >> > like to change that during a couple of months self-study.
> >> >
> >> > I've got 2 basic electronics books, one by Wakerly another by Gajski
> >> >
> >> > Between them they cover latches, Adders, Flip flops, registers,
> >> > counters, ram, stacks, cmos, vhdl, and a little bit on processor
> >> > design- risc and cisc.
> >> >
> >> > The thing is though
> >> > a)it all looks very theoretical, like VHDL. Is there any kit I could
> >> > get where I could try these things practically?
> >> > b)it's not computer centric at all, so doesn't build up to chipsets,
> >> > which is what i'm interested in. I don't really know which computer
> >> > architecture book to get, or if i would immediately be ready for
> >> > detailed manufacturer's documentation / white papers.
> >> >
> >> > Any advice/methods are appreciated
> >> > thanks.
> >> ------------------
> >> Go get some chips and a white solderless proteyping board and a
> >> regulated +5V supply and build a bunch of them.
> >>
> >> And here's a site you should look at:
> >> http://www.play-hookey.com
> >> http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/
> >> http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/electronics/
> >> http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/experiments/
> >>
> >> -Steve
> >
> >
> >Looking at http://www.play-hookey.com/digital/experiments/it does
> >clocks and counters, but i'm also interested in buses, bridges,
> >multipliers/PLLs/DLLs
> >I want to wire up a clock to a multiplier, to a bus.
>
> Those are pretty advanced things for an amateur to be attempting... with
> what goal? I'm not sure you need to be building such circuits to
> understand how they work. e.g. DLL (Delay Locked Loop) is a fairly recent
> name which Rambus coined and claims to have invented for use in memory
> interfacing; I suspect that similar circuits have been in use for a while
> by various people but it's one of the principal patents left in their case
> against the memory mfrs.
>
> There's lots of good docs available for free download. Start at
> www.micron.com for data sheets and technical notes on their memory chips.
> Intel's data sheets are very informative for their bus interfaces - hint:
> look at early versions of them... e.g. the early P4 data sheets had timing
> diagrams which showed exactly how the double pumping of the address bus and
> quad pumping of the data bus works in relation to the system clock; later
> versions of the P4 data sheets removed that info.
>
> For buses, most of the definition docs for recent ones require membership
> of a SIG to get at but I believe the AGP docs are still available through
> Intel and it's basically a modification of the PCI Bus. You can probably
> find docs by searching for some of the older standard buses, like the S100
> which was one of the first buses used in the early microprocessor-based
> computers. There might still be stuff available for STB Bus, VersaBus, VME
> Bus, Multibus (an Intel one) and the PC ISA Bus.
>
> Start reading.:-)
>
> Rgds, George Macdonald

ok
those experiments at http://www.play-hookey.com include stuff with
clocks. I'll forget about building a multiplier, and i'll study the
older bus specs like AGP, and timing diagrams.I just need to build a
circuit with a clock and read the spec to appreciate the electronics
and the timing diagram and how it works. I think that can be done in
short period of time

thanks
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
September 28, 2004 6:01:10 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

q_q_anonymous@yahoo.co.uk (Anon) wrote in message news:<61f945bb.0409232128.7303a134@posting.google.com>...
> I want to spend a few months studying computer architecture, starting
> with the electronics.
>
> The knowledge that i'm starting with, is that I just know logic gates
> (on paper), i've done some karnough maps before, and I have designed a
> full adder in VHDL using XiLinx. So my knowledge is small, and I have
> no experience whatsoever. The only circuit i've ever made is
> electricity not electronics - 2 wires a battery and a light bulb. I'd
> like to change that during a couple of months self-study.
>
> I've got 2 basic electronics books, one by Wakerly another by Gajski
>
> Between them they cover latches, Adders, Flip flops, registers,
> counters, ram, stacks, cmos, vhdl, and a little bit on processor
> design- risc and cisc.
>
> The thing is though
> a)it all looks very theoretical, like VHDL. Is there any kit I could
> get where I could try these things practically?
> b)it's not computer centric at all, so doesn't build up to chipsets,
> which is what i'm interested in. I don't really know which computer
> architecture book to get, or if i would immediately be ready for
> detailed manufacturer's documentation / white papers.
>
> Any advice/methods are appreciated
> thanks.

A decent beginners computer architecture book is "Microprocessor &
Microcomputers" by Tocci. A standard textbook for many courses.
Google gave me this which looks like a good start:
http://www.rdrop.com/~cary/html/computer_architecture.h...

Talking Electronics did an excellent kit called to TEC-1A many moons
ago, you might be able to still get the books or a kit.

Forget microcontrollers is you want to learn actual architecture, they
won't really teach you much, even if you program in assembler.
Forget VHDL, it's useless. But FPGA's can allow you to build and
experiment with your own architectures.

Dave :) 
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
September 28, 2004 10:09:47 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

On 23 Sep 2004 22:28:30 -0700, q_q_anonymous@yahoo.co.uk (Anon) wrote:

>I want to spend a few months studying computer architecture, starting
>with the electronics.
>
>The knowledge that i'm starting with, is that I just know logic gates
>(on paper), i've done some karnough maps before, and I have designed a
>full adder in VHDL using XiLinx. So my knowledge is small, and I have
>no experience whatsoever. The only circuit i've ever made is
>electricity not electronics - 2 wires a battery and a light bulb. I'd
>like to change that during a couple of months self-study.
>
>I've got 2 basic electronics books, one by Wakerly another by Gajski
>
>Between them they cover latches, Adders, Flip flops, registers,
>counters, ram, stacks, cmos, vhdl, and a little bit on processor
>design- risc and cisc.
>
>The thing is though
>a)it all looks very theoretical, like VHDL. Is there any kit I could
>get where I could try these things practically?
>b)it's not computer centric at all, so doesn't build up to chipsets,
>which is what i'm interested in. I don't really know which computer
>architecture book to get, or if i would immediately be ready for
>detailed manufacturer's documentation / white papers.
>
>Any advice/methods are appreciated

I've read the other responses and it's still a little hard to gather where you
want to go. A "few months" isn't very long, by the way. Perhaps enough time to
assimilate one good book.

You may consider the following thoughts I have:

(1) There is a two-book series on computer chips and architecture, which was
pretty well written for someone getting started, I think. Don Lancaster is the
author and the two book set is called "Micro Cookbook," vol 1 is Fundamentals
and vol 2 is Machine Language Programming. This book set refers to rather old
chips by today's standards, but the basic ideas remain pretty well over time
(with some modifications.) And I believe it is written well for someone trying
to understand some of the details of the elements found in computers. Vol 2 may
not be nearly as worthwhile as Vol 1, though.

(2) Another book I really like, if you are considering learning almost all of
the various details of how a computer CPU works inside, then the "Bebop BYTES
Back -- An Unconventional Guide to Computers" is excellent. There is some
software to go along with it, but the book stands alone quite well. This is
unlike much more dry books such as Patterson and Hennessy's "Computer
Organization & Design," for example. Bebop BYTES Back speaks to a newbee very,
very well, I think, yet gets the details down adequately for you to sit down and
consider writing VHDL code. Almost, anyway.

(3) If you are into VHDL, a book I like for starters (though it does nothing to
help you understand floorplanning in any detail) is Smith's "HDL Chip Design."
He provides opposing pages documenting both VHDL and Verlog for the same
systems, covers things from the ground up for folks just trying to fathom the
syntax and details of expression, and covers many practical elements, including
the sequential logic Booth multiplier, for example. A book I learned on (I've
still a whole lot to learn, of course.)

(4) If you are interested in just getting started writing in assembler (x86?),
then you might go to Randy Hyde's site at http://webster.cs.ucr.edu/ and get his
"Art of Assembly" books (there is one for DOS, one for Windows, etc.) and tools.
Or go to my site at http://users.easystreet.com/jkirwan/new/x86lrn.html or any
number of other good sites to get the tools, documentation, etc., to just get
going on it.

Best of luck,
Jon
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
September 28, 2004 10:23:31 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

On Tue, 28 Sep 2004 06:09:47 GMT, Jonathan Kirwan <jkirwan@easystreet.com>
wrote:

>Verlog

Uh, verilog. Sorry.

Jon
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
September 28, 2004 12:01:28 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

On Mon, 27 Sep 2004 23:04:19 -0400, keith <krw@att.bizzzz> wrote:

>On Mon, 27 Sep 2004 19:29:58 -0400, George Macdonald wrote:
>
>
>
>> e.g. DLL (Delay Locked Loop) is a fairly recent
>> name which Rambus coined and claims to have invented for use in memory
>> interfacing; I suspect that similar circuits have been in use for a while
>> by various people but it's one of the principal patents left in their case
>> against the memory mfrs.
>
>DLLs have been around since the year of the flood. I didn't see where
>DamnBus tried to claim them too. Really? Someone should tel Xilinx! ;-)

That's what I figured... that this was a standard circuit when you needed
to (re)align signal transitions. It was certainly one of the original
20(or was it 50 ?) claims they made for use in a memory interface - I may
have mispoken that it is one of the remaining 4 or so claims left but still
not sure on that. Looking it up always leads to stepping in err, something
nasty, so I'll demur on that.

Remember they also wanted to make a claim on using a umm, register to hold
the CAS Latency countdown counter etc. I'm pretty sure that one's been
thrown out.

Rgds, George Macdonald

"Just because they're paranoid doesn't mean you're not psychotic" - Who, me??
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
September 28, 2004 4:51:06 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,sci.electronics.basics,sci.electronics.design (More info?)

Anon wrote:
> I want to spend a few months studying computer architecture, starting
> with the electronics.
>
> The knowledge that i'm starting with, is that I just know logic gates
> (on paper), i've done some karnough maps before, and I have designed a
> full adder in VHDL using XiLinx. So my knowledge is small, and I have
> no experience whatsoever. The only circuit i've ever made is
> electricity not electronics - 2 wires a battery and a light bulb. I'd
> like to change that during a couple of months self-study.
>
> I've got 2 basic electronics books, one by Wakerly another by Gajski
>
> Between them they cover latches, Adders, Flip flops, registers,
> counters, ram, stacks, cmos, vhdl, and a little bit on processor
> design- risc and cisc.
>
> The thing is though
> a)it all looks very theoretical, like VHDL. Is there any kit I could
> get where I could try these things practically?
> b)it's not computer centric at all, so doesn't build up to chipsets,
> which is what i'm interested in. I don't really know which computer
> architecture book to get, or if i would immediately be ready for
> detailed manufacturer's documentation / white papers.

It looks as if you're looking for a prototyping board with some Xilinx
FPGA on it. You can then implement the circuits you've designed in
practice. There are a number of such boards in existence. You'll want
one with a large enough FPGA so that you can fit in entire processors.

You may want to look at http://www.opencores.org for both board designs
and for circuit designs that you can peruse. For hardware, have a look
at their OCRP-1 board.

I don't know what you mean when you say you want to build up chipsets.
Do you mean chipsets for PC mainboards? That's unreasonable given that
you want to spend a few months only. PLLs are also a fairly deep matter.

If you want to get more into using the soldering iron, it might be
better to assemble a computer board out of separate chips, using
separate CPU, memory, I/O chips, but that's fairly outdated stuff. It
has its educational value, however. The Z80 family chips and the 65xx
family chips are still widely available, and a lot of books have been
written about them, though many are out of print now.

--
Cheers
Stefan
!