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29 2 x86 Processor Architecture 2.1 General Concepts 2.1.1 Basic Microcomputer Design 2.1.2 Instruction Execution Cycle 2.1.3 Reading from Memory 2.1.4 How Programs Run 2.1.5 Section Review 2.2 x86 Architecture Details 2.2.1 Modes of Operation 2.2.2 Basic Execution Environment 2.2.3 Floating-Point Unit 2.2.4 Overview of Intel Microprocessors 2.2.5 Section Review 2.3 x86 Memory Management 2.3.1 Real-Address Mode 2.3.2 Protected Mode 2.3.3 Section Review 2.4 Components of a Typical x86 Computer 2.4.1 Motherboard 2.4.2 Video Output 2.4.3 Memory 2.4.4 Input-Output Ports and Device Interfaces 2.4.5 Section Review 2.5 Input-Output System 2.5.1 Levels of I/O Access 2.5.2 Section Review 2.6 Chapter Summary 2.7 Chapter Exercises 2.1 General Concepts This chapter describes the architecture of the x86 processor family and its host computer sys- tem from a programmer’s point of view. Included in this group are all Intel IA-32 processors, such as the Intel Pentium and Core-Duo, as well as the Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Athlon, Phenom, and Opteron processors. Assembly language is a great tool for learning how a computer works, and it requires you to have a working knowledge of computer hardware. To that end, the concepts and details in this chapter will help you to understand the assembly lan- guage code you write. We strike a balance between concepts applying to all microcomputer systems and specifics about x86 processors. You may work on various processors in the future, so we expose you to Downloaded From: www.bsit.zxq.net For More BS-IT Books, Notes & Assignments visit: www.bsit.zxq.net
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30 Chapter 2 x86 Processor Architecture broad concepts. To avoid giving you a superficial understanding of machine architecture, we focus on specifics of the x86, which will give you a solid grounding when programming in assembly language. 2.1.1 Basic Microcomputer Design Figure 2–1 shows the basic design of a hypothetical microcomputer. The central processor unit (CPU), where calculations and logic operations take place, contains a limited number of storage locations named registers , a high-frequency clock, a control unit, and an arithmetic logic unit. The clock synchronizes the internal operations of the CPU with other system components. The control unit (CU) coordinates the sequencing of steps involved in executing machine instructions. The arithmetic logic unit (ALU) performs arithmetic operations such as addition and subtrac- tion and logical operations such as AND, OR, and NOT. The CPU is attached to the rest of the computer via pins attached to the CPU socket in the computer’s motherboard. Most pins connect to the data bus, the control bus, and the address bus. The memory storage unit is where instructions and data are held while a computer program is running. The storage unit receives requests for data from the CPU, transfers data from random access memory (RAM) to the CPU, and transfers data from the CPU into memory. All process- ing of data takes place within the CPU, so programs residing in memory must be copied into the CPU before they can execute. Individual program instructions can be copied into the CPU one at
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