Reading Assignment and Discussion Topics
Computer Science 471

for class on Thursday Dec. 14, 2000

Please read or re-read the following sections of the Patterson & Hennessy text: 1.5, 2.6, 3.12, 4.9, 5.7, 6.8, 6.9, 7.6, and 9.9. Total pages: about 25. These are mainly the "Real Stuff" sections of each chapter; please focus on the Pentium Pro, and feel free to ignore the PowerPC. Be prepared to discuss the following issues:

The Pentium Pro and the MIPS R10000 were comparable in many ways: they used about the same level of semiconductor technology; they had very similar clock rates; both designs used register renaming and issued multiple instructions out-of-order to about the same number and type of functional units.

Their instruction-set architectures, however, are quite different: one is a RISC exemplar, while the other is the one remaining viable CISC architecture. As you know, in a situation like this, the RISC is supposed to have significantly better performance. But in this case the performance of these two machines was quite similar. Why, do you think?