There are at least three architectural layers to processor design, each of which plays a significant role.
Optimizing any system is a multi-layered problem, but when it involves a processor there are at least three levels to consider. Architects must be capable of thinking across these boundaries because the role of each of the layers must be both understood and balanced.
The first level of potential optimization is at the system level. For example, how does data come in and out of the processing cores? The next level is the architecture of the processing cores themselves. This may involve adopting an existing processor, or adding instructions to an extensible core. The final level of optimization is the micro-architectural level. This is where implementation pipelines are defined…
To read the full Semiconductor Engineering article by Brian Bailey, click here.