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Designing SOCs with Configured Cores by Steve Leibson

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1.13. Processors: The Original, Reusable Design Block

Microprocessors became successful because they were the first truly universal, reusable block of logic to become available. With firmware reprogramming, microprocessors could be made to perform a very wide range of tasks with no changes to the hardware. This characteristic allowed system designers to use fixed-ISA, packaged processor ICs in an ever-expanding number of systems. As the popularity of these universal system building blocks grew, an entire software-development tool industry grew up around packaged microprocessors. Large numbers of compiler and RTOS (real-time operating system) vendors popped into existence in the 1980s, the decade when microprocessors became firmly established ...

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