Engineering Computer Architectures to Meet Customers’ Needs – Factors Designers Must Consider

Computer architecture involves the conceptual design and structuring of the hardware components to meet specific requirements such as performance and power requirements. Today, computer architects are faced with quite a number of factors in designing machines which meet the needs of their customers. These factors continue to evolve each passing day as technologies continue to advance. As a result of this many manufacturers of personal computers are researching into different technologies to satisfy different categories of PC users. Some of these have yielded promising results which may lead to future development of new computer architectures.
Engineering Computer Architectures


However, designers need to consider the following essential factors as paramount among other factors for them to come up with machines with acceptable computer architectures. Firstly, the designer has to consider the performance of the computer system. Computer performance is the amount of useful work done by a computer in a given time and compared with the resources used. The performance of a computer can be measured in terms of its response time, rate of processing work, bandwith, utilization of computing resources and data transmission time. A computer that has very slow response time is generally undesirable. For instance, a computer system that spends 30 hours to forecast weather conditions in the next 24 hours will be useless to meteorologists. Therefore, designers must consider the performance requirements in the computer architecture while building new computers.

Secondly is the power requirement. Designers need to consider the power consumption of the machine; how much electrical energy is used up in carrying out a given work. Emphasis must be laid on power efficiency of the computer. This factor partly decides the electricity paid by the users. Therefore when designing a computer, the architect should decide whether to use fewer powerful transistors or a large number of simple processors in the computer architecture to achieve power efficiency.

And finally, the amount of efforts put into programming the computer. A machine architect, by means of an appropriate programming, aims to describe many classes of problems. However, the complexity of programming a computer implies some economic costs. The more difficult it is to program a computer, the costlier its software. Depending on the purpose of the machine built, the programmers’ effort will eventually pay off in financial terms.

Once a designer prioritizes the above-mentioned factors amidst other factors, it will be easier to develop computers which will meet their customers’ needs while they also benefit from a return on investment.

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