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pipelining
Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2004 

(n.) (1) A technique used in advanced microprocessors where the microprocessor begins executing a second instruction before the first has been completed. That is, several instructions are in the pipeline simultaneously, each at a different processing stage.

The pipeline is divided into segments and each segment can execute its operation concurrently with the other segments. When a segment completes an operation, it passes the result to the next segment in the pipeline and fetches the next operation from the preceding segment. The final results of each instruction emerge at the end of the pipeline in rapid succession.

Although formerly a feature only of high-performance and RISC -based microprocessors, pipelining is now common in microprocessors used in personal computers. Intel's Pentium chip, for example, uses pipelining to execute as many as six instructions simultaneously.

Pipelining is also called pipeline processing.

(2) A similar technique used in DRAM, in which the memory loads the requested memory contents into a small cache composed of SRAM and then immediately begins fetching the next memory contents. This creates a two-stage pipeline, where data is read from or written to SRAM in one stage, and data is read from or written to memory in the other stage.

DRAM pipelining is usually combined with another performance technique called burst mode. The two techniques together are called a pipeline burst cache.

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An overview of pipelining - paper 
Provides an overview to the concept of pipelining in computer processors. Organized in a table of contents, there are sections of what pipelining is, its disadvantages, history of development, current technology, and future development.

Instruction Execution Process
Describes how a processor executes instructions. Includes information about pipelining, compiler optimization, native execution and x86 translation execution steps. This page is from "The PC Guide".

related categories

Microprocessors

related terms

Intel microprocessors

microprocessor

pipeline burst cache

RISC

superscalar

trace cache


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