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Computers as Components, 3rd Edition by Marilyn Wolf

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3.6 CPU Performance

Now that we have an understanding of the various types of instructions that CPUs can execute, we can move on to a topic particularly important in embedded computing: How fast can the CPU execute instructions? In this section, we consider two factors that can substantially influence program performance: pipelining and caching.

3.6.1 Pipelining

Modern CPUs are designed as pipelined machines in which several instructions are executed in parallel. Pipelining greatly increases the efficiency of the CPU. But like any pipeline, a CPU pipeline works best when its contents flow smoothly. Some sequences of instructions can disrupt the flow of information in the pipeline and, temporarily at least, slow down the operation of the CPU. ...

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