More books on computer processor architecture

My collection of favourite books/papers/documents for different  processors architectures. Some of them are more of historical interest, like those on Alpha or Z80. The rest are for relevant systems, like MIPS, ARM of IBM system z. Typically, the most up to date documentation can be found on vendors’ sites. Still, I believe that having them all in one place creates an opportunity to perform a comparison of designs, to see more clearly their strong and weak points. Of course, a historical perspective is required for this.


ARM Architecture overview, slides by David Brash, 2011.

ARM System Developer’s Guide. Designing and Optimizing System Software by Andrew N. Sloss et al. A nice book that explains a lot, not just about ARM, but also about general processor things, like why there is no need for a hardware division instruction in RISC.

ARM ARM by ARM, Inc.


Alpha Architecture Handbook by Compaq, 1998. While Alpha is dead, its legacy lives in many little places.


IBM supports a number of processor architectures, so no exhaustive list is meant here.

IBM z Architecture CPU History. Dan Greiner , 2011. Slides with concise summary of System z evolution.

Z Architecture Principles of Operation. Tenth Edition by IBM, 2012. This book is huge. Almost like those for IA-32.

PowerPC Microprocessor Family PEM 32 bit

PowerPC Microprocessor Family PEM 64 bit


Main documents are available from the official site. They are: Intel Software Development Manual (famous three-volume edition in 7 books) aka SDM, and Intel Architecture Instruction Set Extensions Programming Reference, constantly updated and its contents is periodically migrated to the SDM.

Intel 64 Architecture Memory Ordering Whitepaper 2007. This document has been merged to the SDM.

Intel Xeon Phi Coprocessor Architecture and Tools by Rezaur Ranman, publisher: Apress Open, 2013. Can also be bought as paper variant or downloaded for free from the Apress site.

System V Application Binary Interface AMD64 Architecture Processor Supplement. Michael Matz et al., 2012

Intel Itanium SDM is available here (disregard a stupid Flash embedded viewer and pick up PDF).


MIPS Assembly Language Programmers Guide by Silicon Graphics, 1992. The document is ancient, I guess there are more up-to-date there.

MIPS32 1004K CPU Family Software User’s Manual by MIPS Technologies, 2011.

MIPS4K Software User’s Manual by MIPS Technologies, 2002.


PA-RISC 1.1 Architecture by HP, 1994. The architecture is quite simple. Let it be here for historical reference.


The SPARC Architecture Manual Version 9 by David L. Weaver et al. 1994. A standard on how a vendor-independent architecture specification should be written.

Zilog Z80

Z80 CPU User Manual by Zilog, 2005. The style and tone of this manual differs subtly from others.


Russian company MCST designs CPUs of several architectures, including proprietary VLIW architecture. The book can also be downloaded from the official site.

Ким А. К., Перекатов В. И., Ермаков С. Г. Микропроцессоры и вычислительные комплексы семейства «Эльбрус». — СПб.: Питер — 2013.

General RISC

Guide to RISC Processors for Programmers and Engineers by Sivarama P Dandamudi, 2005. A nice primer on the processor architecture.

Written by Grigory Rechistov in Uncategorized on 14.04.2014. Tags: architecture, cpu,

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