computer hardware, consumer electronics, electronic components  

Microprocessor

A microprocessor in an electronic system generally contains multiple functional units and multiple registers for the use of data process therein. A typical computer system includes a microprocessor coupled to a system memory that stores program instructions and data to be processed by the program instructions. A microprocessor receives instructions composing a program from a storage device, and decodes the instructions with the decoder to control its constituent device on the contents of the instructions, thereby to proceed processes in sequence. A typical microprocessor includes a number of different functional units, each of which requires current state to perform its functions during the processing of microinstructions. Each functional unit executes instructions to write data into pertinent register(s) in a register file. Functional units may be any data computation units such as an arithmetic logic unit (ALU), an adder unit, a floating point unit, a load store unit, etc. Early computer processors, also called microprocessors, included a central processing unit or instruction execution unit that executed only one instruction at a time. In response to the need for improved performance, several techniques have been used to extend the capabilities of these early microprocessors including pipelining, superpipelining, superscaling, and speculative instruction execution. Pipelined architectures break the execution of instructions into a number of stages where each stage corresponds to one step in the execution of the instruction. Within a pipelined microprocessor, the functional units necessary for executing different stages of an instruction are operated simultaneously on multiple instructions to achieve a degree of parallelism leading to performance increases over non-pipelined microprocessors. Pipelined architectures have been extended to "superpipelined" or "extended pipeline" architectures where each execution pipeline is broken down into even smaller stages. Superscalar microprocessors generally include multiple pipelines that process instructions in parallel. Superscalar microprocessors achieve high performance by executing multiple instructions per clock cycle and by choosing the shortest possible clock cycle consistent with the design. Microprocessors typically include a cache memory. A cache memory stores a subset of the data in the system memory in order to reduce data access time, since accesses to the cache memory are much faster than to the system memory.


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