Skip to main content
Department of Information Technology

Computer Architecture, First Course

Project: Microprocessor report

The purpose of this exercise is to read, to understand and explain a technical documentation of a modern microprocessor. This is a non-mandatory exercise that is only required for the VG-grade.


The presentation is oral and written. The oral part is going to be similar to previous presentations in the course. The author/authors will have to answer questions about the content in the report. The written report is to be handed in at the oral presentation.

The following has to be included in the written report:

  • Name of the authors.
  • Name of the chosen microprocessor.
  • The presentation should contain answers to the questions listed below. If some questions are not relevant, e.g., the processor does not have a cache, this should be noted.
  • The report is to be written using the text editor of your choice with a length of maximum 2 pages.
  • The assignment can only be made in groups of 2 persons or alone. Larger groups are not allowed.
  • All references should be presented in the report.
  • The report should be structured and understandable.
  • The authors should be able to explain all terms used in the report.

Contents of the report:

  • Is the processor a CISC or a RISC?
  • What is the word-length of the processor?
  • Where is it used? Give an example of a machine using the processor.
  • Does it use pipelines? How deeply pipelined is the processor?
  • How many registers does the processor have? Are some of the registers used for certain purposes?
  • Does the processor have caches? How large are the caches? Does it have several levels of cache? Are the caches shared between data and instructions?
  • What buses are there? How wide are the buses?
  • Does the processor have a branch predictor? How does it work?
  • Is the processor super linear? In that case, how many units does it have? Does it implement out-of-order execution?
  • What circuit technology is used (e.g., bipolar, mosfet, silicon, cupper, aluminum)?
  • How good is its performance (e.g., clock frequencies, instructions per second, and benchmark-results)?
  • Make comparisons to the x86 and SPARC-processors described in the text book.

Choosing a processor

You can choose the processor by yourself, but it should be a relatively modern. It doesn't have to be used in PCs, workstations or servers. It can for example be used in embedded systems such as controllers in cars or freezers, etc. Tell the teacher what processors you would like to write about before you start writing.

Here are some hints about processors and links to some documentation:

Processor Resources
(Sun) UltraSPARC-I, look for the UltraSPARC I User's manual
(Sun) UltraSPARC-II, look for the UltraSPARC II User's manual
(Sun) UltraSPARC-IIi, look for the UltraSPARC II and/or UltraSPARC IIi User's manual
IBM PowerPC (MPC 7455) MPC7450 RISC Microprocessor Family User's Manual
Intel Pentium 4 Good link is missing. Contact a lecturer.
Intel Itanium 2 Good link is missing. Contact a lecturer.
AMD Opteron AMD, technical resources Look for, e.g., Technical Resources. May be tricky to find some relevant information.
AMD Athlon AMD, technical resources Look for, e.g., Technical Resources. May be tricky to find some relevant information.
AMD Duron AMD, technical resources Look for, e.g., Technical Resources. May be tricky to find some relevant information.
Transmeta Crusoe Transmeta Could be a chalange to compare with "ordinary" architectures.
IBM Power 4 Power 4 System Microarchitecture Advanced and powerful. Not the easiest one...

Updated  2003-10-06 16:50:55 by Zoran Radovic.