SystemOrganization - System Organization System...

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System Organization Beta Draft - Do not distribute © 2001, By Randall Hyde Page 137 System Or ganization Chapter One T o write e v en a modest 80x86 assembly language program requires considerable f amiliarity with the 80x86 f amily . T o write good assembly language programs requires a strong kno wledge of the underlying hardw are. Unfortunately , the underlying hardw are is not consistent. T echniques that are crucial for 8088 pro - grams may not be useful on Pentium systems. Lik e wise, programming techniques that pro vide big perfor - mance boosts on the Pentium chip may not help at all on an 80486. F ortunately , some programming techniques w ork well no matter which microprocessor you’ re using. This chapter discusses the ef fect hard - w are has on the performance of computer softw are. 1.1 Chapter Overview This chapter describes the basic components that mak e up a computer system: the CPU, memory , I/O, and the b us that connects them. Although you can write softw are that is ignorant of these concepts, high per - formance softw are requires a complete understanding of this material. This chapter also discusses the 80x86 memory addressing modes and ho w you access memory data from your programs. This chapter be gins by discussing b us or g anization and memory or g anization. These tw o hardw are com - ponents will probably ha v e a bigger performance impact on your softw are than the CPU’ s speed. Under - standing the or g anization of the system b us will allo w you to design data structures and algorithms that operate at maximum speed. Similarly , kno wing about memory performance characteristics, data locality , and cache operation can help you design softw are that runs as f ast as possible. Of course, if you’ re not interested in writing code that runs as f ast as possible, you can skip this discussion; ho we v er , most people do care about speed at one point or another , so learning this information is useful. W ith the generic hardw are issues out of the w ay , this chapter then discusses the program-visible compo - nents of the memory architecture - specifi cally the 80x86 addressing modes and ho w a program can access memory . In addition to the addressing modes, this chapter introduces se v eral ne w 80x86 instructions that are quite useful for manipulating memory . This chapter also presents se v eral ne w HLA Standard Library calls you can use to allocate and deallocate memory . Some might ar gue that this chapter gets too in v olv ed with computer architecture. The y feel such mate - rial should appear in an architectural book, not an assembly language programming book. This couldn’ t be f arther from the truth! Writing good assembly language programs requires a strong kno wledge of the archi - tecture. Hence the emphasis on computer architecture in this chapter .
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