January 24, 2007

Review: Inside the Machine

James Pyles writes "I was preparing to have my brain completely numbed as I picked up this book. I expected it to contain
a long litany of endless technical and mathematical jargon that would act like an overdose of Valium on even the most die hard geek.
I was very happily mistaken. While there is no doubt that Stokes is well versed in this realm (and as co-founder and Senior CPU Editor at
Ars Technica, why shouldn't he be?), he describes the development, evolution, and operation
of microprocessors in a plain, linear fashion. This really appealled to my "diode" mind where current only flows in one direction and that must follow
instructions one-step-at-a-time.

This book might well have been called Everything you wanted to know about computer architecture but were afraid to ask. It takes you from
a firm foundation of the basics of computing and executing code, through the history and anatomy of Intel and PowerPC processors, into the
worlds of 32 and 64 bit computing and beyond. Every person entering into a career in programming would benefit from reading and re-reading
this book. Inside the Machine is the antidote for the anxiety every freshman in a beginning Computer Science class feels when reading the
course syllabus for the first time."

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