Exam Board:

OCR

1.2 Processors

Specification:

A-Level 2015 

An instruction set is a list of all the instructions that a CPU can process as part of the FDE cycle.

CPUs can have different sets of instructions that they can perform based on their function. The two most common instruction sets are the simpler RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) and more complicated CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer).

Instruction Sets

This page is still being updated.

Reduced Instruction

Set Computer (RISC)

Complex Instruction

Set Computer (CISC)

Complexity

RISC has fewer instructions than CISC and is therefore slower for carrying out complex commands but quick for basic tasks.

CISC has more complex instructions available and can therefore perform complicated tasks.

Cost

RISC is generally cheaper to mass produce because less circuitry is required for the smaller instruction set.

CISC CPUs are generally more expensive because they require more circuitry to operate.

Power

RISC CPUs are designed to use less power and run without dedicated cooling systems (like fans) so that they can be used in devices like smartphones.

Because CISC CPUs require more circuitry this means that they generate more heat and may require a fan. CISC CPUs therefore are commonly used in desktop computers.

Clock
Speed

RISC CPUs run at lower clock speeds than CISC CPUs. They can perform simpler tasks more quickly than CISC, but are generally not used to carry out complex instructions.

CISC CPUs run at higher clock speeds than RISC CPUs. They can perform complex tasks more quickly than RISC.

Graphical Processing Unit

What is cache memory?

Cache memory is temporary storage for frequently accessed data.

Cache memory is very quick to access because it is closer to the CPU than other types of memory like RAM.

Multicore & Parallel Systems

What is cache memory?

Cache memory is temporary storage for frequently accessed data.

Cache memory is very quick to access because it is closer to the CPU than other types of memory like RAM.

Questo's Questions

1.2 - Processors:

1. What is cache memory? [2]