MCS-284 Processor Investigation
Each of you should choose a processor to research. Come to class on
the first Monday of the semester prepared to volunteer to take on a
processor for your processor
investigation. That day you need merely state which processor do
you intend to specialize on.
For the second Monday of the semester, write a brief summary of the
sort of information you found during your investigation. You
should not supply me with copies of printouts of this
information, but rather summarize the contents of what you found in a
couple paragraphs. Assess whether the information is sufficient to
carry out the remainder of the assignment during the semester and what
further information might be helpful.
During the semester, you will be asked to investigate the processor,
and write a very brief summary of what you discover about it in the
context of the course. Share these discoveries in lecture at
appropriate (or even slightly inappropriate) times during the course.
This question is quite open ended, in part because the sort of
information appropriate for a modern processor differs from that of an
ancient one. Reasonable effort to convey information about your
processor to the class will earn nearly full credit. Additional
effort may increase your grade in the course according to my judgment.
(I.e., extra credit is possible.)
Things you may consider investigating include
- Is the instruction set RISC or CISC?
- How complicated are the addressing modes?
- How many cycles per instruction?
- How much is pipelining used? Or, for that matter, is parallelism
used at any level of the design? For instance, is there
only one ALU or are there more that one that can work in parallel?
- Is it designed to be a parallel processor?
- Why were these choices made?
- Are there any interesting historical stories about the processor, its
design, its designers or its marketing?
- Is/was the processor successful? Why or why not?
- Is there anything more of interest you wish to share?
Submit the following information:
- State what processor you chose to investigate.
- List references you found.
- Write about a paragraph which very briefly addresses some of the
above questions in order to convince me you've read at least some of
- Come prepared with an overhead slide or two and be prepared to
address how your processor's instruction set is distinctive.