Hi, I'm new...

Tony Duell ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Sat Aug 5 18:26:13 CDT 2006


> > > I know how the CPU works and runs everything
> > > , in theory, but I can't program in machine
> > > language yet.
> > > As for how the CPU and everything else works
> > > physically, I don't really know anything, but
> > 
> > There are, unfortunaely, very few books that
> > actually explain how the CPU 
> > works. Most introductory hardware books explain
> > things like the AND and 
> > OR gats and flip-flops (don't worry if these terms
> > mean nothing to you, 
> > they're just the basic building blocks of computer
> > circuits), and then 
> > tell you the CPU exists. It's almost as if the CPU
> > runs on some kind of 
> > magic.
> > 
> 
> Hehe... abracadrabra.

All I can say is that it's a wonderful feeling when you finally 
understand how a CPU works at this level. All the magic has gone away, 
everything makes sense again.

> 
> > I can assure you that it doesn't, and that many
> > older, simpler CPUs are 
> > understandable at the gate level (or even the
> > transistor level).
> > 
> > I know how _I_ learnt this stuff. I had already
> > understood how to use 
> > gates, flip-flops, etc. I mamaged to get the servi
> ce
> > manuals for an old 
> > minicomputer, and I sat down for a couple of
> > _months_ until I understood 
> > it all. Of course back then there was no classiccm
> p
> > list, I didn't have 
> > anyone to ask. I was very much on my own.
> > 
> 
> Perhaps there are service manuals for the
> Amiga??

There are, but I am not sure they're available on the web. 

That said, I doubt they'll be much use here. I've never seen a service 
manual for any computer that really documents what goes on iside complex 
(LSI) chips. They'll descibe the pin connectors, the signals on those 
pins, and often any internal registers you can program to control the 
chip. But that's it. You will not get a gate level description.

The old minicomputers I refered to had a processor made up of lots of 
simple, small chips (my PDP11/45 has over 1000 chips in the CPU, and a 
few hundred in the floating point processor). Each chip is just a few 
gates or flip-flops (and thus the data sheet on such a chip really does 
fully describe it). So you really can understand how this CPU works at a 
very low level. It takes a lot of time to work through the schematics, 
though.

> 
> I know I wanted to get my hands on the Amiga
> RKRM's (Rom Kernel Reference Manuals), but
> they will be hard to find in paper form.

I have one of the official Amiga manials, on hardware. It gives pinouts 
and descriptions of the custom chips, and has been very useful in tracing 
faults. But there is (as expected) no real internal description of the ICs.

-tony




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