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It has major significant impact to help us being more productive, build more sophisticated machines and devices and much more in our moden life. The application of microprocessors range from domestic appliances such as handphones, calculators, digital cameras, automatic washing machines, microwave ovens to industrial machines such as automatic welding machines to research and scientific equipment such as automatic testing instruments. All these devices have one or more microprocessors as its major component to function. OBJECTIVES At the end of this topic, you should: 1. know the history of the microprocessor and of the different generations of computers; 2. be able to define or explain the following terms: microprocessor, Arithmetis Logic Unit (ALU), Control Unit (CU), Registers; 3. know how microprocessor works and it’s performance; 4. know the CISC and the RISC architecture and its differences; and 5. know the differences between a microprocessor and a microcontroller. 1.1 THE EVOLUTION OF THE MICROPROCESSOR The microprocessor evolved from the inventions of the transistor in 1947 and the integrated circuit (IC) in 1958. Before this, the earliest machine, ENIAC, the first generation of computers, used vacuum tubes that required a large room to house them and consumed huge amount of power. In 1960’s, computers filled entire rooms and only available to a few government labs, research universities, and large corporations. With the invention of the transistor, computer shrank in size and increase in power, which led to the second generation of computers. This topic will address the history of microprocessor and the driving forces behind this evolution particularly for the Intel family microprocessors. Table 1.1 summarizes the timeline microprocessors.
2 . In 1972. but it was until the next generation of microprocessor that it was realized. The 8008 consist of 3. Intel introduced the first 8-bit microprocessor.000 instructions per second.500 transistors and operate at 200kHz. It was designed for computer terminals. introduced in 1971. As shown in Table 1. The 4004 was not very powerful as it was meant as a calculator which contained 2. and was capable of 60. the first microprocessor was Intel 4004. All it could do was add and subtract 4 bits of data at one time. the Intel 8008.300 transistors. But it was quite impressive at that time because everything was on one chip. The introduction of Intel 4004 and 8008 demonstrated that it was possible to put the entire central processing unit (CPU) in one chip.1 The Birth of the Microprocessor The third generation computers came about with the invention of the integrated circuit (IC).1.1.
Figure 1.1.4 millions of instruction per second (MIPS). which consisted 4. which. which introduced its first microprocessor. but not directly compatible with 8080. The 8086 is the first 16-bit microprocessor introduced in 1978.1: Intel 4004 Chip 1. It contained 6. It was designed based on the 8080. operate at 2MHz and was rated at 6.000 transistors. was the Intel 8080 in 1974. the 6800. a few other companies had started entering the global market shares such as Motorola.000 transistors. Besides Intel. The 8086 family consists of two types of the 163 .2 The First Microcomputer The first microprocessor to make it into a personal computer evolved from 8008.
For the PC architecture to keep up with the new Intel386 microprocessor. In 1992. Besides the Intel 8086. PC architecture started to used a 32-bit local bus (in addition to the I/O expansion bus) for high speed graphics. To keep up with this microprocessor.2 million transistors which combined the function of the Intel386 microprocessor with a math coprocessor. the 21064 that clocked at 150MHz. supports data-transfer speeds of up to 132 megabytes per second at 33MHz. video.3 Microprocessor in the 1980’s In 1982.77MHz clock 8-bit I/O expansion bus for communication. it allowed more complex programs to multitask without intefering with each other.4 Microprocessor in the 1990’s Since 1992. 1. DEC produced the first Alpha microprocessor. 1. IBM. we had seen unprecedented design features and high-performance CPUs in the market. known as the PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) local bus.bit microprocessors – the 8086 and the 8088. the IBM PC AT increase the I/O expansion bus to 16 bits and 8MHz. an enhanced bus interface unit to read information out of memory faster.1. This new high-speed bus. It was introduced to take advantage of the graphical user interfaces (GUI’s) of the operating system. In 1989. In 1979. It was the same architecture as the 8086. which then was used in the original IBM personal computer in 1981. This event marked a new era for personal computer-based business computing. the Intel486 was introduced with 1. Zilog Z8000 and the Motorola 68000 are another typical examples of popular 16-bit microprocessors.000 transistors and with a 16-bit microprocessor with an external 8-bit bus system to simplify the system design. Intel introduced the 80286 microprocessor with 134. and a unified internal data/instruction cache. the 8088 microprocessor was introduced. Motorola and Apple formed an alliance to design the PowerPC processor 4 . In 1985. To employ the 16-bit bus system and to increase the speed. It consists of 29. two new 32-bit I/O expansion bus standard known as EISA and Micro Channel were created to support higher-speed peripherals for communication and mass storage. the Intel 80386 microprocessor was introduced and became the first 32-bit processor in the Intel architecture family. data storage and communication. The IBM PC used a 4.000 transistors.000 transistors to incorporate a memory management unit that enable the operating system to run several programs at once in the memory (also known as multitasking). only uses the 8-bit bus system instead of 16-bit bus system to reduce the cost. With 125.1.
The threat of these traditional RISC vendors is the gaining popularity of x86 and the intrusion of the Windows NT to the UNIX market. The 7200 were produced in 1994. The 64-bit architecture was useful particularly in applications that rely heavily on graphics such as 3D games and multimedia presentation. several variations R4000 were made making the MIPS architecture to become popular in the embedded marketplace. started to gain success. Only in 1995. The first 64-bit processor produced by HP was the 180-MHz PA-RISC 8000 in 1996 and surpassed the Alpha 21164 in integer performance for a while. They were the 32-bit processors named PA-RISC 7100 and 7200. Sun. And it seemed that every new processor introduced. when Sun introduced the 167-MHz ULTRASPARC fabricated by T1.based on IBM’s Power architecture and became a serious threat to the Intel x86. 5 . that Sun. had outperformed its older rivals with the exception of the Alpha 21164 which was on the top for most of the decade. the SuperSPARC but to no success. But the fastest single-chip processor in 1992 was the MIPS R4000 with 64-bit architecture and since than. HP manufactured its own microprocessor for its workstation. Unlike MIPS and Sun. introduced its first 64-bit superscalar CPU.
patterns that can be programmed by software to make machines do many useful tasks. Microsoft introduced Windows 95 OS and Windows NT for business and enterprise servers.1 million transistors and was fast gaining its popularity due to its cost compared to the PowerPCbased Macintosh.2 shows the summary of high-performance desktop processor up to year 2000. Intel moves on to Pentium II in 1997. It was launched in 1993 with a 32-bit CPU architecture and 60-Mhz clock rate. These circuits manipulate data in certain patterns. In 1996.000 times faster! Table 1. The transistors are laid out along microscopic lines made of superfine traces of aluminum that store or manipulate data. All of them are actually improvements from the basic design of 8088. 8086. In 1995. 80386 and 80486). Intel remains as the biggest threat and rival to the other x86 application domain of workstation vendors. Pentium III in 1999 and Pentium 4 2000 and Pentium 4 “Prescott” in 2004. but it does it about 5. The Pentium 4 can execute any piece of code that ran on the original 8088.0 for the IBM PC. To avoid trademark with the numerical naming convention (eg. From there. Microsoft introduced Windows 3. The fifth generations may also be a possible outcome as the whole artificial intelligence movement is stretching towards where someday machines can think on their own.2 A MICROPROCESSOR A microprocessor is an integrated circuit made on a tiny silicon chip that contains thousands or millions of tiny on/off switches.Over a decade after the introduction of mouse and Windows by Apple. Intel launched Pentium Pro and so far outperformed some of the RISC processor. New applications such as the internet and the multimedia interfaces are expected to drive the microprocessor to new directions. 8088. Although the internal workings of today’s microprocessors are way more complex than the earlier microprocessor such as the 8-bit microprocessor. but the underlying architectures have remained almost unchanged for 25 years. It contained 3.1. Is it good or bad when machine has its own mind? Well.5 Future Directions The outstanding performance of microprocessors may slow down in the future due to the IC technology limitations. Intel called it Pentium. 1. With the low cost system. Intel added 57 new pixel-processing instruction set and it called the MMX. One of the biggest tasks microprocessors perform is acting as the brains inside a personal computer and is responsible for the processing of the 6 . computer architecture and market forces. Java processors have already being publicized by Sun. To cater the multimedia needs. lets just think for a moment… 1. known as transistors.
These two components.instructions. These pins represent an external data bus. compare numbers and perform input/output (read information and display or store it). The CPU is attached to the rest of the computer via pins attached to the CPU socket in the motherboard.g. subtraction. which make up computer software. It composed of 7 . The ALU carries out arithmetic operations (e. an address bus. OR). It can do arithmetic. The CPU’s internal clock will synchronises each of the CPU and memory operations. Figure 1. multiplication and division) and logical operations (compare.2. typical architecture of a microprocessor or CPU. 1. AND. The microprocessor itself is made up of a number of components such as the arithmetic logic unit (ALU) and the control unit (CU). AND. and various voltage and control pins that affect the CPU’s operations. addition and subtraction) and logical operations (e. or X-OR) while the CU controls the execution of instructions.1 The Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) The ALU is the heart of the microprocessor and performs arithmetic (addition. The CPU is divided into two general parts: the Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) and the Control Unit (CU). the ALU and CU comprise the central processing unit (CPU). A microprocessor executes a collection of machine instructions that tell the processor what to do.2 shows a simple.g.
When data must be read from external memory. 1. 8 . with the help of program counter. For this purpose it has certain number of internal components such as the instruction register (IR). decode the current instruction and issue commands (microinstructions) to the other units of the system which involve in its execution. places the requested data on the data bus. • Memorise the internal state of the machine in the form of flags set in the processor status register. It must then fetch the next instruction and execute it. It must take instruction one after another. • Produce. The data to be processed arrives at the ALU.2 The Contol Unit (CU) The Contol Unit coordinates and executes the instructions fethed from the external memory and controls and directs to the other units. the control unit calculates its address and places the address on the address bus.2. the sequencer.3 Address and Data Buses The internal data bus is a series of parallel wires that transmit data between the various parts of the CPU. is processed. comparator etc.logic circuits such as adder. The memory unit (another processor on the motherboard) reads the address bus. the correct sequence of instructions to be executed. the CPU will: • Manage the fetching and decoding of program instructions one after the other. the status registers which will be described in details at the registers section below. thus provides more precision. • Send out command signals to control the operation of the other elements of the system. Modern microprocessors contain complete floating point processors that can perform extremely sophisticated operations on large floating point numbers. the program counter (PC). subtracter. • Cause the processing by the ALU of the arithmetic and logic operations required by the instruction.2. and the result appears at the output of the ALU where it is normally stored in an accumulator. 1. Basically. and signals to the CPU that the data is ready. The CPU transfers the data from the external bus into its internal storage areas.
This in turns means that we should strive to have the data bus as wide as possible. the processor has a small number (usually less than 100) of storage locations to store information that is currently being processed. I/O devices and memory operate at very slow speeds compared to the speed of the CPU. Similarly the Motorola 68000 is classified as a 16-bit processor. therefore processors with 8-bit registers are called 8-bit processors. the Intel 8088 microprocessor is an 8-bit processor since it uses an 8-bit data bus. 16. the less time the CPU waiting for information to process. 1. This number of bits is also referred to as the memory word size. Using this classification. As a result. For example. The register size of a particular processor allows us to classify the processor. that the Motorola 68000 would have to transfer two 16-bit items to the CPU to fill a 32-bit register. between an I/O devices and the CPU. The data bus width is very important in a computer system. 9 . 32-bit and 64-bit processors. since it determines the amount of information that can be transferred to or from the CPU. even though its CPU registers are 32-bit registers. 32 or 64 bits. So. similarly there are 16-bit. As we shall see later. for example. 64 or some other number of bits.One of the method of classifying a processor is to use the width of the data bus. This means that the CPU can transfer n-bits to another device in a single operation. although its CPU registers are in fact 16-bit registers.4 Registers In addition to the ALU and CU. the more information we can transfer in a single operation. the CPU is frequently delayed by these slower devices. The greater the number of bits the more powerful the processor is. waiting for information to be transferred along the data bus.2. since the data bus width is 16-bits. These locations are called registers and depending on the processor. since it will be able to process a larger unit of information in a single operation. 32. in which case an n-bit processor describes one operating with a data bus of n-bits. Processors with a register size of n-bits are called n-bit processors. a word can mean 8. 16. in a single operation. On some machines a word is taken to mean a 16-bit quantity and the term long word is used to refer to a 32-bit quantity. This means. An n-bit processor is said to have an n-bit word size so a 32-bit processor has a 32-bit word size. a 32-bit processor will be able to add two 32-bit numbers in a single operation whereas an 8-bit processor will only be able to add two 8-bit numbers in a single operation. So. while a byte refers to an 8-bit quantity. An n-bit processor will usually be capable of transferring n-bits to or from memory in a single operation. a register may typically store 8.
it might need to know for the addition being executed whether a previous addition had generated a carry out). with the memory address of the first instruction to be executed. the CU must issue a certain number of microinstructions to the other units of the system. the sequencer has to know the state of certain components and have available details concerning the operations which have already been executed (for example. the sequencer sends a stream of microinstructions towards the components used in the execution of the instruction. the more actions that the CPU can carry out). Such information can be obtained from another component called the status register. zero. As its name suggests. the quicker the central processor (the more cycles per second. the PC is incremented so that it acts as a pointer to the location 10 . it must cause the next instruction to be brought into the instruction register. The clock controls the rate at which activities are carried out by the CPU. (D) The Program Counter (PC) When the sequencer has finished generating the microinstructions for the current instruction. but must be issued at precise times according to the instruction being executed. whether the result was negative. a quartz clock which is current microprocessors runs at between 2 GHz and 4. etc. The timing of microinstructions is determined by the system’s internal clock.0 GHz. The component which sends out the appropriate microinstructions for the decoded instructions currently in the IR is the sequencer. It generate a stream of cycles or ticks and an action can only be carried out on the occurrence of a clock tick. each time an instruction has been loaded into the instruction register and is ready to be executed. Following that. (C) The Status Register To do its work correctly. For this it needs the program counter to load automatically at the start of the program’s execution. Intuitively. (B) The Sequencer To execute the instruction which has just been loaded into the instruction register.(A) The Instruction Register The instruction that the control unit is to execute is loaded in advance into a special register. nor to just any component. which is able to remember certain information such as whether the previous instruction generated a carry out. the faster the clock. These microinstructions must clearly not be issued at random.
the more work is done. lets examine the term million of instructions per second (MIPS). The clock inside most Pentium processors runs at 200 – 1200 MHz (million times per second).3 shows the functional unit in a CPU with the internal registers. human can add two number together in our head in about one second. one of the simpler ways to measure performance. Todays’s high speed microprocessor can do this operation in 15th billionths of second. We.3 MICROPROCESSOR PERFORMANCE In order to understand the microprocessor performance.2. and is measured in millions of cycles per second (MHz). 1. the higher the performance. At this the rate of one calculation per second.containing the next instruction to be executed. 11 . The most basic unit of time for machine instructions is called the machine cycle or clock cycle. Figure 1.5 Clock Each of the individual operations that take place within the CPU must be synchronised by an internal clock. The more instructions a microprocessor can execute in a second. The more the work is done. it would take us over two years the same number of operations that a fast microprocessor can do in a second. 1.
32 or 64 bits • large number of addressing modes • few registers 12 . one microprocessor operating at 1GHz is twice as fast as one operating as 500MHz. The difference between the CISC and RISC can lay on many levels: code density. or Complex Instruction Set Computer architecture. allowing more information to be transferred during each operation. decode complexity etc. Everything else being equal. transistor count. CISC and RISC stand for two different approaches in designing modern computer architecture. A 32-bit microprocessor can transfer four times as much information as an 8-bit microprocessor can in the same amount of time. Basically there are two types of microprocessors based on their architecture: the CISC and RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer). Data capacity has grown from 8 bits to 64 bits. This technique effectively reduces the number of clock periods required per instruction because the microprocessor is running two or three times faster internally to finish the instructions more quickly. The operating frequency refers to the speed of a clock signal serving as a reference for all the microprocessor’s operation. The microprocessor’s internal architecture can also be made efficient by requiring fewer clocks to finish an operation or calculate a result. compiler. 1. Some microprocessors run even faster on the inside than they do on the outside.A microprocessor’s operating frequency (expressed in million times per second or MHz) has a significant effect on the microprocessor’s performance. memory bottleneck.1 CISC versus RISC A CISC processor has most of the following properties: • large instruction set • instructions can perform very complex operations • variable instruction formats: 16. 1. The goal is always the same: to execute more instructions in smaller amounts of time.4. The clock signal is used extensively by the microprocessor and computer peripherals to determine when data is ready to be transfered and how long to wait until calculations are finished.4 TYPES OF MICROPROCESSORS Intel’s 32-bit architecture is commonly associated with CISC. Another factor which determine the micrprocessor peformance is the ability to transfer data during each clock cyle.
when choose a processor for embedded real-time 13 . Examples of CISC architecture are the Motorola MC68000 family and the Intel family. but also make superscalar and out of order execution possible. However. In common CISC chips are relatively slow per instruction compared to RISC chips.Typically CISC chips have a large amount of different and complex instructions. therefore one should make a powerful instruction set. but use less instructions than RISC. Characteristic for a RISC processor are: • no microcode • relatively few instructions • simple addressing modes • only load/store instructions access memory • uniform instruction length • more registers than CISC processors • pipelined instruction execution • large number of registers • fast floating point performance The essence of RISC architecture is that it allows the execution of more operations in parallel and at a higher rate than possible with a CISC architecture employing similar implementation complexity. It believes that hardware is always faster than software. which provides programmers with assembly instructions to do a lot with short programs. It can not only improve parallelism by pipelining.
since most of real-time systems require very fast interrupt handling and high code density. The microprocessor system has extreme flexibility. Figure 1. Microcontroller A microprocessor is simply a unit that processes instructions. MIPS. it becomes a powerful tool. once the microprocessor is put into a microprocessor system. What counts in a real world is always how fast a chip can execute the instructions and how well it runs existing software.4. you can put in an infinite amount of devices such as a serial port. some RISC machines added more instructions to their architectures for new data types. The designations RISC and CISC are no longer meaningful in the original sense. display and many more. superscalar operations. Examples of RISC architecture are SPARC. and it is obvious that this would pose certain problems. 14 . clean memory models. RISC generally don't have advantages over CISC. However. but of the whole chip architecture and system. It is completely useless and incapable of performing any meaningful task by itself. it seems the RISC-CISC gap is narrowed. They run faster and faster with a decent floating point performance. due to the size limitation of chips. parallel port. Also. until the appearing of 486. Now Intel's machines still run the old instruction set. Expose to the environment could subject the devices to vibrations causing the wires to flex. PIII. 1. On the other hand. In addition. the battle over RISC and CISC is mainly non-Intel versus Intel x86. HP-PA.not physical wires) and delicate components are needed to connect the various peripherals. lots of registers and even out-of-order execution. and RISC seemed to have a clearly advantage.2 Microprocessor vs. but they adopt some RISC-like characteristics such as one clock execution.application. deep pipelining. Back in the middle to late 80's. So. It becomes apparent that a lot of wires (traces -. so high code density is important. PowerPC.5 shows a microprocessor system with a processor on the left hand side and all of the devices on the right. the difference between RISC and CISC is no longer one of instruction sets. it is unlikely to have large memory. CISC chips such as Motorola's 68K family provide better software availability for such system. Pentium and now PII. This would eventually cause a failure in one or more devices. In an embedded system. Alpha. So. humidity can cause wires to corrode which has the same effect.
However.The solution to this problem is a micro-controller! A micro-controller houses the entire microprocessor system on one chip. and has a great deal of commercial convenience. Analog-to-Digital Converter etc. This protects all of the devices. It is actually microprocessor with built-in features such as RAM. parallel I/O ports. ROM. 15 . microcontrollers can only be used in small systems. timers. because of their small instruction sets.
you are introduced to the most popular microprocessor architectures: the RISC and the CISC and its differences. Four years after the introduction of the first microprocessor. The last part in this topic covers the differences between a microprocessor and a microcontroller.SUMMARY This topic starts with a journey through the evolution of microprocessor which evolves from the invention of the first transistor. the first microcomputer makes it’s first debut and besides Intel. 16 . it’s internal components and how it’s performance is rated. Then. The 70’s marks the evolution of the computer era when the first microprocessor was introduced by Intel known as the Intel 4004. Besides that. you are introduce to how a microprocessor works. Zilog and AMD. a few others companies had been successfully penetrates the global market such as Motorola.
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