Thursday, September 10, 2009

GoalsCPU design

The first CPUs were designed to do mathematical calculations faster and more reliably than human computers.
Each successive generation of CPU might be designed to achieve some of these goals:
higher performance levels of a single program or thread
higher throughput levels of multiple programs/threads
less power consumption for the same performance level
lower cost for the same performance level
greater connectivity to build larger, more parallel systems
more specialization to aid in specific targeted markets
Re-designing a CPU core to a smaller die-area helps achieve several of these goals.
Shrinking everything (a "photomask shrink"), resulting in the same number of transistors on a smaller die, improves performance (smaller transistors switch faster), reduces power (smaller wires have less parasitic capacitance) and reduces cost (more CPUs fit on the same wafer of silicon).
Releasing a CPU on the same size die, but with a smaller CPU core, keeps the cost about the same but allows higher levels of integration within one VLSI chip (additional cache, multiple CPUs, or other components), improving performance and reducing overall system cost.

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