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Definition: microarchitecture


The basic design of a microprocessor. It includes the design of the instruction pipeline and execution techniques, number and style of on-board caches and caching techniques and type and speed of the system bus. The microarchitecture also defines the process technology and base materials used for the construction of transistors, electronic components and interconnects.

Microarchitecture vs. Architecture
The microarchitecture is the very specific design of a microprocessor, while a chip's architecture refers to the broader family of chips. For example, Intel's x86 family is the architecture, while NetBurst, Nehalem, etc. are microarchitectures. See pipeline and cache.




Intel Microarchitectures
Starting with the first Pentium chip, Intel has had numerous microarchitectures, all part of the x86 family. Nehalem was the first microarchitecture in the Core i family starting in 2008 (for subsequent generations, see Intel microarchitectures).