I was taking the the P.E. practice exam and there is a question that shows a CPU without pipeline stages. There were options for both a 1 stage pipeline or that it was a non-pipelined architecture. The correct answer was that it was non-pipelined.

What is the difference between a non-pipelined architecture and a 1 stage pipeline architecture? I had assumed that they were the same thing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Why would you assume that? It either has a pipeline or it doesn't. \$\endgroup\$ – Finbarr Oct 13 '19 at 12:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Finbarr I'd argue with Eric: what's a one-stage pipeline if not simply a single-issue CPU? \$\endgroup\$ – Marcus Müller Oct 13 '19 at 12:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ If Eris and Marcus are right (it's what I thought, too) then I think it's clear to me the right answer is non-pipelined. Nobody in their right mind would call a non-pipelined architecture a 1-stage pipeline in real life. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan Sheppard Oct 13 '19 at 13:15

Almost all CPU cores in the market today are designed with multiple pipeline stages (greater than 1); see a classic CPU example here. A 1 stage pipeline simply implies that all major stages of a typical CPU, such as fetch, decode, execute, memory and write back are all done in one cycle a.k.a, the CPU core itself is not pipelined (a non-pipelined architecture).


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