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Inside the Machine: An Illustrated Introduction to Microprocessors and Computer Architecture

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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. Ins 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 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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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. Ins 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 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.

30 review for Inside the Machine: An Illustrated Introduction to Microprocessors and Computer Architecture

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nick Black

    No deep detail, but a clear and concise presentation, with a very nice set of examples from several current processors -- a suitable, if less detailed, update to Tannenbaum's classic Structured Computer Organization.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Justin Liew

    This is a really good introductory Computer Architecture book. It is accessible and well laid out, and builds on foundations as it goes. The only downside I would say is that the sections on the different architectures dragged a bit; I got a bit disinterested in the specific differences between the various different Motorola chipsets. That being said, it is important to see the evolution of the CPU and how the different manufacturers approached performance gains and how they handled the ever-incr This is a really good introductory Computer Architecture book. It is accessible and well laid out, and builds on foundations as it goes. The only downside I would say is that the sections on the different architectures dragged a bit; I got a bit disinterested in the specific differences between the various different Motorola chipsets. That being said, it is important to see the evolution of the CPU and how the different manufacturers approached performance gains and how they handled the ever-increasing processor-memory gap.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Moshe Zioni

    Just, WOW- didn't expect it to be that good, honestly one of the best reference books I've ever read (and I've read quite a few), Stokes have a tremendous amount of knowledge and he achieved, IMHO, an unprecedented writing on one of the most obscure and hard-to-teach topics of computer hardware - the CPU.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Aarno

    Very informal and quite simplistic; still a good background summary of the major two desktop architectures of the last decade that does not require a lot of knowledge on the subject to grasp.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Che Adam Rashid

    An astonishingly informative romp through recent microprocessor history (1990's - 2006). The author goes through the basics of microprocessors and subsequently builds upon that knowledge base by exploring eras of microprocessor history and improvements. Although slightly repetitive at times (mostly due to the subject), he explores and easily explains microarchitecture design and implementation and contrasts CISC vs. RISC instruction sets (with an obvious penchant for one of them). Surprisingly e An astonishingly informative romp through recent microprocessor history (1990's - 2006). The author goes through the basics of microprocessors and subsequently builds upon that knowledge base by exploring eras of microprocessor history and improvements. Although slightly repetitive at times (mostly due to the subject), he explores and easily explains microarchitecture design and implementation and contrasts CISC vs. RISC instruction sets (with an obvious penchant for one of them). Surprisingly easy to understand, and definitely satiated my appetite for technical knowledge on how the beating heart of computers functions, without going into too much detail.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Denis

    This books is a nice read for someone who wishes to know more about how computer processors works. It's a shallow introduction to computer architecture and organization. Similar books: Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Restrepo

    Amazing for any engineering freshman!

  8. 5 out of 5

    You Ssef

    Brilliant introduction to the subject.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Raphael

    https://dev.to/taillogs/the-best-book... https://dev.to/taillogs/the-best-book...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Excellent book. Excellent introduction to the basics of microprocessor. Every programmer needs to read it

  11. 5 out of 5

    teivah

    Insightful

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ushan

    There is a wonderful book from 1990 called Microprocessors: A Programmer's View that explains clearly, how microprocessors work. It stops at the Intel 80486, the IBM POWER1, and the Motorola 68040. Jon Stokes's book covers the next 16 years of microprocessor evolution, stopping at the Core Duo and the PowerPC G5. There is no way I would have understood this book without the 1990 book. The x86/x86-64 instruction set is basically a virtual machine; what goes on inside is completely different, and There is a wonderful book from 1990 called Microprocessors: A Programmer's View that explains clearly, how microprocessors work. It stops at the Intel 80486, the IBM POWER1, and the Motorola 68040. Jon Stokes's book covers the next 16 years of microprocessor evolution, stopping at the Core Duo and the PowerPC G5. There is no way I would have understood this book without the 1990 book. The x86/x86-64 instruction set is basically a virtual machine; what goes on inside is completely different, and the translation from the instruction set to micro-ops is complicated: micro-ops sometimes fuse, and fused micro-ops sometimes later break apart. Above it nowadays oftentimes is another virtual machine, a JVM, a .NET CLR or a Parrot. I wonder how much faster things would have been with just one virtual machine.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Albert Pang

  14. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Hansen

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ethan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chris Reesman

    Great book about computer micro-architecture. Interesting to see the changes from one microprocessor to the next from various vendors. The illustrations and clear explanations helped to enforce the concepts presented in the text. I would recommend to anyone looking for a good introduction or refresher on micro architecture.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  18. 5 out of 5

    Darren Kirby

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carlo Revelli

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chris Jordan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nishant Pani

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chris Harvey

  23. 4 out of 5

    Povilas Balzaravičius

  24. 5 out of 5

    Danieljmanla

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  26. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Stvartak

  27. 4 out of 5

    Burak

  28. 5 out of 5

    Howard B

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jaunius Vencevičius

  30. 4 out of 5

    JB w

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