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Increasing the width of the data bus

The number of wires in a data bus determines the quantity of data that the
bus can carry at any one time.

Processor Main Memory Address


00001001
00001000
8 Bit Data Bus 00000111
Memory
10010010

00000110
10010010 00000101
Data
00000100
Register 00000011
00000010
00000001
00000000
Increasing the width of the data bus
Increasing the data bus will increase the quantity of data that the bus can
carry at any one time and so speed up the performance/processing of the
computer.

Processor Main Memory Address


16 Bit Data Bus 00001001
00001000
10010010 00011000

00000111
Memory 00000110
10010010 00011000 00000101
Data
00000100
Register 00000011
00000010
00000001
00000000
Increasing the width of the data bus
A computer with a data bus of 32 lines is called a 32 bit computer and the
word length is 32.

Glossary
Word Length: the number of bits the CPU can process in a single operation.
This is generally equal to the width of the data bus.
Using cache memory
Using cache memory allows data to be held in storage locations in or very
close to the CPU.

Cache Memory Main Memory Address


10000011 11001100 11100011 00001001
10000010 00000011 00110011 00001000
10000001 00010001 00001110 00000111
10000000 01000000 11110000 00000110
11110011 00000101
11001010 00000100
00000011
00000010
Processor 00000001
00000000
Using cache memory
The bus used between the CPU and cache memory contains more lines
than the bus used between the CPU and the main memory and so more data
can be transferred in a clock cycle.

Cache Memory Main Memory Address


10000011 11001100 11100011 00001001
10000010 00000011 00110011 00001000
10000001 00010001 00001110 00000111
10000000 01000000 11110000 00000110
11110011 00000101
11001010 00000100
00000011
00000010
Processor 00000001
00000000
Using cache memory
The cache memory also uses Static RAM (SRAM) which is faster than the
Dynamic RAM (DRAM) usually used in the main memory.

Cache Memory Main Memory Address


10000011 11001100 11100011 00001001
10000010 00000011 00110011 00001000
10000001 00010001 00001110 00000111
10000000 01000000 11110000 00000110
11110011 00000101
11001010 00000100
00000011
00000010
Processor 00000001
00000000
Peripheral transfer rate
Peripherals generally perform at much slower speeds than the CPU and so
transferring data to and from a peripheral will reduce the system
performance

Increasing the interface rate of transfer will improve performance

USB 1.1
12 Megabits per second

USB 2.0
480 Megabits per second
Peripheral transfer rate
Peripherals generally perform at much slower speeds than the CPU and so
transferring data to and from a peripheral will reduce the system
performance

Increasing the interface rate of transfer will improve performance

Firewire 400
400 megabits per second

Firewire 800
800 megabits per second
Peripheral transfer rate
Many peripherals have their own processors and RAM to speed up
performance

e.g. Graphics card

or sound card
Credits
Higher Computing – Computer Structure – Factors affecting performance

Produced by P. Greene for the City of Edinburgh Council 2004

Adapted by M. Cunningham 2010

All images licenced under Creative Commons 3.0


• Dismantling an old computer by fdecomite
• S3 Graphics chrome 530 GT card by Via Gallery (viagallery.com)
• Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer Sound Card by gcg2009 on Flickr