2. 8086 Microprocessor Architecture

Architecture of 8086

Unlike microcontrollers, microprocessors do not have inbuilt memory. Mostly Princeton architecture is used for microprocessors where data and program memory are combined in a single memory interface. Since a microprocessor does not have any inbuilt peripheral, the circuit is purely digital and the clock speed can be anywhere from a few MHZ to a few hundred MHZ or even GHZ. This increased clock speed facilitates intensive computation that a microprocessor is supposed to do.

We will discuss the basic architecture of Intel 8086 before discussing more advanced microprocessor architectures.

Internal architecture of Intel 8086:

Intel 8086 is a 16 bit integer processor. It has 16-bit data bus and 20-bit address bus. The lower 16-bit address lines and 16-bit data lines are multiplexed (AD0-AD15). Since 20-bit address lines are available, 8086 can access up to 2 20 or 1 Giga byte of physical memory.

The basic architecture of 8086 is shown below.

Fig. Basic Architecture of 8086 Microprocessor

The internal architecture of Intel 8086 is divided into two units, viz., Bus Interface Unit (BIU) and Execution Unit (EU).

Bus Interface Unit (BIU )

The Bus Interface Unit (BIU) generates the 20-bit physical memory address and provides the interface with external memory (ROM/RAM). As mentioned earlier, 8086 has a single memory interface. To speed up the execution, 6-bytes of instruction are fetched in advance and kept in a 6-byte Instruction Queue while other instructions are being executed in the Execution Unit (EU). Hence after the execution of an instruction, the next instruction is directly fetched from the instruction queue without having to wait for the external memory to send the instruction. This is called pipe-lining and is helpful for speeding up the overall execution process.

8086's BIU produces the 20-bit physical memory address by combining a 16-bit segment address with a 16-bit offset address. There are four 16-bit segment registers, viz., the code segment (CS), the stack segment (SS), the extra segment (ES), and the data segment (DS). These segment registers hold the corresponding 16-bit segment addresses. A segment address is the upper 16-bits of the starting address of that segment. The lower 4-bits of the starting address of a segment is always zero. The offset address is held by another 16-bit register. The physical 20-bit address is calculated by shifting the segment address 4-bit left and then adding that to the offset address.

For Example:

Code segment Register CS holds the segment address which is 4569 H
Instruction pointer IP holds the offset address which is 10A0 H
The physical 20-bit address is calculated as follows.

Segment address :  45690 H
Offset address       :+  10A0 H
Physical address  :  46730 H