- A+ Certification
- A+ 220-1001: Day 1: Intro, Resources & the Test
- A+ 220-1001: Day 2: CPUs
- A+ 220-1001: Day 3: RAM
- A+ 220-1001: Day 4: Firmware, Motherboards & Power Supplies
- A+ 220-1001: Day 5: Disks & Mass Storage
- A+ 220-1001: Day 6: Peripherals & PC Builds
- A+ 220-1001: Day 7: OS Operations, User Management & OS Maintenance
- A+ 220-1001: Day 8: Catch-up & Review
- A+ 220-1002: Day 9: The Command Line & OS Troubleshooting
- A+ 220-1002: Day 10: Displays & Networking Basics
- A+ 220-1002: Day 11: LANs: Ethernet & WiFi
- A+ 220-1002: Day 12: The Internet & Virtualization
- A+ 220-1002: Day 13: Portable & Mobile Computing
- A+ 220-1002: Day 14: Mobile Administration & Printing
- A+ 220-1002: Day 15: Security & Operations
- A+ 220-1002: Day 16: Review & Test Preparation
RISC vs CISC
In the consumer space, CISC came first. But RISC dominated high-end servers and workstations, and was an attempt to improve on CISC. Yes, it’s newer than CISC.
Intel and AMD are punching it out in the CISC space, with really ferocious processors coming to servers, workstations and consumer. Yah horsepower!
But RISC chips are more efficient (power-wise). While they’ve been used in smaller devices, they’re moving up into the consumer space. Apple’s M1 RISC processor punches head-to-head with Intel’s i9 unit in many comparisons (late 2020 as I write this).
ARM has been almost synonymous with RISC, but ARM is actually a design company. They license ARM designs to manufacturers, and most cell phone and tablet chips are ARM-licensed RISC processors.
But there is another. RISC V (or RISC 5) is an open-source design spec. While there isn’t a massive community developing for this design, it’s likely to become much more prominent BECAUSE:
Nvidia is buying ARM! This means they will have a virtual lock on the current ARM/RISC world. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/09/nvidia-reportedly-to-acquire-arm-holdings-from-softbank-for-40-billion/
Meet Gary Explains, a Guy Who Explains Things Very Well
8 bit, 16, 32 and 64 bit OSs, processors and system buses
Note that early in the CISC era, up until the Pentium, many manufacturers made “286”, “386” and “486” chips: Intel of course, plus AMD, Cyrix, NEC and others that have disappeared.
AMD64 / x86-64
Processor Product Versions
Packaging: PGA, BGA, LGA, Slot 1 and Slot A, soldered
Intel rebels against “compatible” processors
Yes, CPUs and GPUs can melt their solder:
Where You’ll See CISC
- In almost every desktop (i.e. Intel architecture) and most laptops.
- Also most Macs running OS X through 2020.
Where You’ll See RISC
- Cell phones
- Most Chromebooks
- UNIX workstations and servers
- Very old Macs (OS versions before OS X)
- Raspberry Pies
- Lots of single-board computers (SBCs)
- Oh and also: New Macs with Apple’s own M1 RISC processor!
Pre-emptive vs. Co-operative
Allowing more than one thread to run simultaneously, eg. Intel Hyperthreading.
Multiprocessing (Multiple Processor Cores)
Putting more than one CPU core on a single die or package.
Virtualization in silicon is HUGELY faster than virtualization in software. It must be enabled in BIOS/UEFI, of course on a processor that has this feature.
On-Chip Security and Management
Intel’s vPro is probably the best known management feature within chips, though other manufacturers have similar tool sets.
Features like PAE and NX prevent execution of the contents of some areas of memory, and randomize the location of system files when they’re loaded into RAM (so evil hackers can’t inject code into known locations).
Lots of PCIe Lanes
Cheap processors don’t have many, or any, PCIe lanes. High-end processors have lots of them, some within the processor itself and some for connection to interfaces like PCIe slots, M2 slots, and Thunderbolt ports, and devices like video cards, NICs, etc.
Meet Paul’s Hardware, JayzTwoCents, Gamers Nexus and more…