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Advancements in Microprocessors

Essay by   •  September 9, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  563 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,921 Views

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The microprocessor, commonly known as the CPU (central processing unit), is the brain of the computer. It reads and writes instructions it gets from storage devices, performs mathematical calculations, and processes other data. The first microprocessor, called the "4-bit 4004", was just a simple "number crunching machine" developed by Intel in the early 70's. These first processors were followed by "8-bit", and "16-bit" by Intel and Motorola. These were followed by Intel's "32-bit" and "Pentium" processors and AMD's "Athlon" processors. Over the years microprocessors got faster and smaller, the core speed was increased from MHz to GHz. Consumers wanted more; the desire to do things faster and do more things at once fast gave rise to "Multi-core Processors", giving the processor the ability to do more than one thing at once, and "Multiple Processor systems".

The term "Multi-core" simply means "the processor housing contains two or more cores that operate at the same frequency, but independently of each other". (Andrews J. PH.D. 2010). Major advancements in technology allowed transistors to shrink in size which further allowed the CPU to have more of them. This new technology gave developers the ability to add multiple and more powerful cores within a single processor housing. AMD uses "Hyper Transport" technology, which basically means that each core in the processor handles individual threads in parallel with the threads handled on the other cores. AMD uses also "Direct Connect Architecture" in their Multi-core processors. This technology provides a direct connection between the processor, memory controller and the I/O unit which improves overall system performance. Also with this technology each core within the processor has its own memory controller. Intel uses "Silicon" technology in their processers producing "32nm" processors with "22nm" processors expected to show up by late 2011. Intel's version of AMD's "Hyper Transport" is called "Hyper Threading" which works much like AMD's "Hyper Transport". Not to sound redundant but with Intel's "Hyper Threading" each core processes a thread in parallel with other threads being processed on the other cores.

"Multiple Processing" is simply a motherboard with two processor sockets and designed to support multiple processors. There are two architectures designed for computers that use multiple processors and they are "non-uniform memory access (NUMA)" and "symmetric multiprocessing (SMP)." The processors in a "NUMA" computer are closer to parts of memory than to the other parts of memory. This results in accessing parts of the memory faster than the other parts. In the "SMP" computer on the other hand the



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