Multiprocessor system designs explored at RWT
David Kanter at RealWorld Tech has written a very nice introduction to some aspects of multiprocessor system design. He explains the various options available to system makers with respect to memory subsystems and cache coherency, and he does so with an eye toward scalability issues. Cache coherency protocols may seem like an esoteric subject to desktop PC users, but as parallelism takes hold in mainstream CPU designs, such things are beginning to matter a great deal. The article explains the most common approaches and relates them back to current implementations from Intel and AMD. Plus, hey, it's got animated GIFs! Required reading for the would-be CPU geek.