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

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Inside the Machine is an introduction to computers that is intended to fill the gap that exists between classic but more challenging introductions to computer architecture, like John L. Hennessy’s and David A.

Patterson’s popular textbooks, and the growing mass of works that are simply too basic for motivated non-specialist readers. Readers with some experience using computers and with even the most minimal scripting or programming experience should finish Inside the Machine with a thorough and advanced understanding of the high-level organization of modern computers. Should they so choose, such readers would then be well equipped to tackle more advanced works like the aforementioned classics, either on their own or as part of formal curriculum.

The book’s comparative approach, described below, introduces new design features by comparing them with earlier features intended to solve the same problem(s). Thus, beginning and intermediate readers are encouraged to read the chapters in order, because each chapter assumes a familiarity with the concepts and processor designs introduced in the chapters prior to it.

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 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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