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What is meant by "Superscalar"

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Jacky Luk, Sep 14, 2003.

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  1. Jacky Luk

    Jacky Luk Guest

    Pentium 4 is refered to as superscalar. What is meant by that? Thanks
  2. John Jardine

    John Jardine Guest

    It's what I know as "bollocks". It's something their marketing people have
    dreamed up because the word sounds hi-tech.
  3. Mark Little

    Mark Little Guest

    A superscalar architecture is a uniprocessor that can execute two or more
    scalar operations in parallel. A scalar process consists of sequential
    operations that cannot be parallelised or vectorised.

    Hope this helps,
  4. Jacky Luk

    Jacky Luk Guest

    I feel a little hunch that "superscale" is exactly the same as
    hyper-threading which is redundant....
  5. They are not the same. Superscalar is older than hyper-threading,
    and as most (probably all) of today's processors in desktop
    computers are superscalar, only some do hyper-threading.

    Hyper-threading differs from superscalar in that hyper-threading
    allows the processor run operations parallel on _thread_ level
    whereas superscalarity allows processor execute several
    instructions of _one_ thread at once.

    I don't know the details of hyper-threading, but I do know that
    it's not exactly the same thing as superscalar. However, as you
    might have concluded from the previous statement, they do have a
    lot in common, so you are not entirely mistaken, either.
  6. Correct. I don't belive any x86s (for instance) are simple scalar
    processors anymore. Of this class only some Pentium 4's are
    Simultaneous Multi-Threading (SMT). Hyper-threading is hyper-
    SMT doesn't disallow simultaneous operations (super-scalar) on
    different threads.
    Basically, super-scalar processors are those that have more than one
    execution unit that can operate simultaneously (I.e. more than one
    instruction operating at a time). Multi-threading processors track the
    state of more than one process/thread simultaneously. The idea behind
    super scalar processors is to execute more than one instruction at a
    time (add in "fully-pipelined" as a modifier to super-scalar and one
    can execute more than one instruction per clock). The idea behind
    multi-threading is to keep the processor busy (the second thread) when
    one thread has a pipeline stall.
  7. <architecture> A superscalar architecture is a uniprocessor that can execute
    two or more scalar operations in parallel. Some definitions include
    superpipelined and VLIW architectures; others do not. Superscalar
    architectures (apart from superpipelined architectures) require multiple
    functional units, which may or may not be identical to each other. In some
    superscalar processors the order of instruction execution is determined
    statically (purely at compile-time), in others it is determined dynamically
    (partly at run time).

    Refers to microprocessor architectures that enable more than one instruction
    to be executed per clock cycle. Nearly all modern microprocessors, including
    the Pentium, PowerPC, Alpha, and SPARC microprocessors are superscalar.
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