The CPU Guru - Introduction

Welcome to the CPU Guru section. I hope that this site is a sufficient one stop resource and reference for all your Central Processing Unit (aka the chip) queries.

The Guru section is laid out as follows:

  1. Silicon to CPU
  2. CPU Anatomy
  3. CPU Purpose
  4. Instructions and Instruction Sets
  5. Optimisation
  6. CPU History

Silicon to CPU describes the manufacturing process of the CPU, starting at pure silicon and arriving at the multi-million transistor chips that we find in our computers.

First Principles describes how transistors come together to form more complicated arrangements like logic gates and registers.

Purpose, instructions and optimisation explain how a simple sequence of bits is interpreted by the CPU as an 'instruction'. This is followed by a description of some of the optimisation strategies that are used to process as many instructions as possible in a given amount of time, such as pipelining, branch prediction, and out-of-order execution.

Finally, CPU History takes us back in time to the Intel 4004. From there we step forward, chip by chip, all the way to modern 7th generation architectures (as found in the Pentium 4 and Athlon range), 64 bit processors (such as the Intel Itanium and AMD Hammer range), and multicore processors.