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Inside the Machine by Jon Stokes
By: Barzan "Tony" Antal
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    Table of Contents:
  • Inside the Machine by Jon Stokes
  • Inside the Book
  • More About the Book...
  • Conclusion

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    Inside the Machine by Jon Stokes - More About the Book...

    (Page 3 of 4 )

    It's really crucial to point out the main purpose of the diagrams throughout the book. First of all, I've already said that the diagrams in this book aren't common at all. They aren't ordinary grayscale sketches that leave the reader to guess what they really represent. Their interpretation is both intuitive and easy. Also, when the author introduces new diagrams, he often refers back to prior ones and explains the changes that occurred along with what the modified colors, items, names and symbols mean.

    The diagrams are mostly four or more colors. These clearly printed, vivid images help the reader to remember them more easily by forming a mental picture. It's been a while since I've read it, but I still can't forget Stokes' real-world analogies and the vivid diagrams that helped big time.

    The above image appears as Figure 4-3 on page 65 and should be interpreted as "superscalar execution and pipelining combined." The original diagram is far bigger and every aspect of it is explained thoroughly.

    Drifting back to the contents, I'd like to focus a bit on the middle chapters. (Especially on the ninth). The seventh and eighth chapters actually compare two very different processors that are very important. Understanding their architecture is imperative. Then, in the ninth chapter, the author introduces the reader to the era of 64-bit computing. The first 64-bit microprocessor architecture (IBM PowerPC 970) is examined in great detail.

    This book is very fresh and up-to-date. Why? Well, we all know that Core 2 Duo processors are currently dominating. (At least at the time of this review). They're the newest era of processors which were officially released on July 27, 2006. Ultimately, the Core 2 Duo architecture is currently the best of the best. It's self-explanatory that its architecture is the most advanced and complex. According to a statement for Ars Technica, Jon Stokes actually worked with Intel on the final chapter.

    "No other book that comes out in the same time frame will have as much detailed information on the Pentium M, Core Duo/Solo, and Core 2 Duo/Solo. I actually worked with Intel on this (a huge thank-you to George Alfs and the Intel folks for being so responsive), so I can guarantee that you won't find more detailed descriptions of the three processors covered in the last chapter outside of Intel's tech docs, some of which have yet to be released." - Jon "Hannibal" M. Stokes - source: Ars Technica; Carthage.

    Some AMD fan-boys were extremely upset and screamed enthusiastically, "where's AMD?" Stokes responded diplomatically saying:

    "Over the years, AMD hasn't produced nearly the quality and quantity of detailed microarchitectural documentation that Intel, Motorola, and (to lesser degree) IBM. So my lack of AMD coverage of the years is pretty much AMD's fault." - the author, Stokes

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