Page 1:Processor Features, Explored
Page 2:Superscalar Execution
Page 3:MMX Technology: SSE And 3DNow!
Page 4:Dynamic Execution
Page 5:Dual Independant Bus Architecture
Page 6:Hyper-Threading Technology
Page 7:Multi-Core Technology
Page 8:Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Support
Page 9:Processor Socket And Slot Types
Page 10:Intel Sockets: LGA 775, LGA 1156, LGA 1366, And LGA 1155
Page 11:AMD Sockets: AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3 And F/FM1/FM2
Page 12:CPU Operating Voltages And Math Coprocessors (Floating-Point Units)
Page 13:Processor Bugs And Steppings
Page 14:Intel Core ix-Series And Atom Processors
Page 15:AMD K10, Bulldozer, Piledriver CPUs, And Fusion/HSA APUs
The fifth-generation Pentium and newer processors feature multiple internal instruction execution pipelines, which enable them to execute multiple instructions at the same time. The 486 and all preceding chips can perform only a single instruction at a time. Intel calls the capability to execute more than one instruction at a time superscalar technology.
Superscalar architecture was initially associated with high-output reduced instruction set computer (RISC) chips. A RISC chip has a less complicated instruction set with fewer and simpler instructions. Although each instruction accomplishes less, the overall clock speed can be higher, which usually increases performance. The Pentium is one of the first complex instruction set computer (CISC) chips to be considered superscalar. A CISC chip uses a richer, fuller-featured instruction set, which has more complicated instructions. As an example, say you wanted to instruct a robot to screw in a light bulb. Using CISC instructions, you would say the following:
- Pick up the bulb.
- Insert it into the socket.
- Rotate clockwise until tight.
Using RISC instructions, you would say something more along the lines of the following:
- Lower hand.
- Grasp bulb.
- Raise hand.
- Insert bulb into socket.
- Rotate clockwise one turn.
- Is bulb tight? If not, repeat step 5.
Overall, many more RISC instructions are required to do the job because each instruction is simpler (reduced) and does less. The advantage is that there are fewer overall commands the robot (or processor) has to deal with, and it can execute the individual commands more quickly, and thus in many cases execute the complete task (or program) more quickly as well. The debate goes on whether RISC or CISC is really better, but in reality there is no such thing as a pure RISC or CISC chip—it is all just a matter of definition, and the lines are somewhat arbitrary.
Intel and compatible processors have generally been regarded as CISC chips, although the fifth- and later-generation versions have many RISC attributes and internally break down CISC instructions into RISC versions.
Note: The ARM processor used by Windows RT tablets is a RISC processor. Windows RT uses the same tile-based interface as Windows 8, but x86 software is not compatible with Windows RT.
- Processor Features, Explored
- Superscalar Execution
- MMX Technology: SSE And 3DNow!
- Dynamic Execution
- Dual Independant Bus Architecture
- Hyper-Threading Technology
- Multi-Core Technology
- Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Support
- Processor Socket And Slot Types
- Intel Sockets: LGA 775, LGA 1156, LGA 1366, And LGA 1155
- AMD Sockets: AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3 And F/FM1/FM2
- CPU Operating Voltages And Math Coprocessors (Floating-Point Units)
- Processor Bugs And Steppings
- Intel Core ix-Series And Atom Processors
- AMD K10, Bulldozer, Piledriver CPUs, And Fusion/HSA APUs