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The Intel Microprocessors-Fifth Edition

© December 1999 Tony Lawrence

Order (or just read more about) The Intel Microprocessors- Barry B. Brey

This is an expensive book, even by computer book standards. At 966 pages, it does packs in a tremendous amount of information that isn't easily found elsewhere, so it may very well be worth it. On the other hand, it is a book that will age pretty quickly (already has aged even at the time of this review, just months after publication).

As the title would imply, this covers Intel processors from the 8086 through the Pentium II. Its scope is broad: from programming to hardware interfacing, and it includes most of the peripheral chips and controllers that make up as functional system.

This is textbook style; excellent summaries at the end of each chapter, review questions (with "selected answers" in an appendix). The software examples are all DOS; Unix gets no mention whatsoever, not even in the sections that describe protected mode programming. There is no mention of SMP designs either.

Some sections were apparently just lifted entirely from previous editions and should have been edited more carefully to fit with the more recent information added for this edition. There are also a few places that are just plain confusing: a paragraph that starts out mentioning the PCI bus instead switches to talking about memory and never does explain it (the PCI bus is, however, completely covered in another section).

I think this is probably more of interest to hardware types than programmers and other software people, but it never hurts to understand the underlying hardware even if your interests are only administration. My own hardware expertise doesn't extend much beyond board swapping, but I found it interesting and definitely worthwhile as a reference.

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