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Home > Tutorial > The architecture of Pentium Microprocessor
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The architecture of Pentium Microprocessor
 
The architecture of Pentium Microprocessor:
Contributed** by Rajesh Kothandapani

Block diagram of the Pentium

Figure 1 shows a block diagram of the Pentium design.

The most important enhancements over the 486 are the separate instruction and data caches, the dual integer pipelines (the U-pipeline and the V-pipeline, as Intel calls them), branch prediction using the branch target buffer (BTB), the pipelined floating-point unit, and the 64-bit external data bus. Even-parity checking is implemented for the data bus and the internal RAM arrays (caches and TLBs).

As for new functions, there are only a few; nearly all the enhancements in Pentium are included to improve performance, and there are only a handful of new instructions. Pentium is the first high-performance micro-processor to include a system management mode like those found on power-miserly processors for notebooks and other battery-based applications; Intel is holding to its promise to include SMM on all new CPUs. Pentium uses about 3 million transistors on a huge 294 mm 2 (456k mils 2 ). The caches plus TLBs use only about 30% of the die. At about 17 mm on a side, Pentium is one of the largest microprocessors ever fabricated and probably pushes Intel’s production equipment to its limits. The integer data path is in the middle, while the floating-point data path is on the side opposite the data cache. In contrast to other superscalar designs, such as SuperSPARC, Pentium’s integer data path is actually bigger than its FP data path. This is an indication of the extra logic associated with complex instruction support. Intel estimates about 30% of the transistors were devoted to compatibility with the x86 architecture. Much of this overhead is probably in the microcode ROM, instruction decode and control unit, and the adders in the two address generators, but there are other effects of the complex instruction set. For example, the higher frequency of memory references in x86 programs compared to RISC code led to the implementation of the dual-ac.

Register set

The purpose of the Register is to hold temporary results, and control the execution of the program. General-purpose registers in Pentium are EAX, ECX, EDX, EBX, ESP, EBP,ESI, or EDI.

The 32-bit registers are named with prefix E, EAX, etc, and the least 16 bits 0-15 of these registers can be accessed with names such as AX, SI Similarly the lower eight bits (0-7) can be accessed with names such as AL & BL. The higher eight bits (8-15) with names such as AH & BH. The instruction pointer EAP known as program counter(PC) in 8-bit microprocessor, is a 32-bit register to handle 32-bit memory addresses, and the lower 16 bit segment IP is used for 16-bi memory address.

The flag register is a 32-bit register , however 14-bits are being used at present for 13 different tasks; these flags are upward compatible with those of the 8086 and 80286. The comparison of the available flags in 16-bit and 32-bit microprocessor is may provide some clues related to capabilities of these processors. The 8086 has 9 flags, the 80286 has 11 flags, and the 80286 has 13 flags. All of these flag registers include 6 flags related to data conditions (sign, zero, carry, auxiliary, carry , overflow, and parity) and three flags related to machine operations.(interrupts, Single-step and Strings). The 80286 has two additional : I/O Privilege and Nested Task. The I/O Privilege uses two bits in protected mode to determine which I/O instructions can be used, and the nested task is used to show a link between two tasks.

The processor also includes control registers and system address registers , debug and test registers for system and debugging operations.

Addressing mode & Types of instructions

Instruction set is divided into 9 categories of operations and has 11 addressing modes. In addition to commonly available instructions in a 8 bit microprocessor and this set includes operations such as bit manipulation and string operations, high level language support and operating system support. An instruction may have 0-3 operands and the operand can be 8, 16, or 32- bits long. The 80386 handles various types of data such as Single bit , string of bits , signed and unsigned 8-, 16-, 32- and 64- bit data, ASCII character and BCD numbers.

High level language support group includes instructions such as ENTER and LEAVE. The ENTER instruction is used to ENTER from a high level language and it assigns memory location on the stack for the routine being entered and manages the stack. On the other hand the LEAVE generates a return procedure for a high level language. The operating system support group includes several instructions , such as APRL.( Adjust Requested Privilege Level) and the VERR/W (Verify Segment for Reading or Writing). The APRL is designed to prevent the operating system from gaining access to routines with a higher priority level and the instructions VERR/W verify whether the specified memory address can be reached from the current privilege level.

Cont......

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