Key Concepts

Review core concepts you need to learn to master this subject

The Instruction Cycle

In order for a single instruction to be executed by the CPU, it must go through the instruction cycle (also sometimes referred to as the fetch-execute cycle). While this cycle can vary from CPU to CPU, they typically consist of the following stages:

  • Fetch
  • Decode
  • Execute
  • Memory Access
  • Registry Write-Back
Instruction Pipelining
Lesson 1 of 1
  1. 1
    Computers are asked to complete countless instructions in a minuscule amount of time every day. If our computers could only complete one task at a time, using a computer would become incredibly tim…
  2. 2
    If our computers could only complete a single task at a time, would it really cause that much of a slowdown? Imagine it’s laundry day. Let’s assume it takes the following times to complete each …
  3. 3
    Let’s look at this how this laundry example plays out in the digital world. In order for the CPU to execute an instruction, it will go through the instruction cycle which is comprised of the foll…
  4. 4
    Let’s head back to our slow laundry day. There’s an easier way to accomplish all this laundry by overlapping our cycles. For example, one load of clothes would be in the washer while another load…
  5. 5
    Pipelining is a processing technique that efficiently maximizes the throughput of multiple computer instructions by processing the instructions in overlapping phases. Let’s reexamine the instructi…
  6. 6
    There are a few things to keep in mind about pipelining. Pipelining is part of the hardware and can’t be turned off. All of the logic for how the processor handles instructions in a pipeline is b…
  7. 7
    Nice job reaching the end of this lesson! With an ever-increasing demand being put on computers, hardware designers are forced to come up with even better ways to process instructions. Pipelining i…

How you'll master it

Stress-test your knowledge with quizzes that help commit syntax to memory

Pro Logo