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Computer Organization and Design, Third Edition: The Hardware/Software Interface, Third Edition (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Architecture and Design) 3rd Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1558606043
ISBN-10: 1558606041
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Editorial Reviews


"The choice of 'Real Stuff' is judicious. The 'Computers in the Real World' sections are interesting to read and should widen the horizons of the too often too tech-oriented Sophomores and Juniors. On the whole this is a very solid book and the success of the third edition is assured as has been the success of its two predecessors."
-Jean-Loup Baer, University of Washington

"I am very impressed with the new sections 'Computers in the Real World.' It is very interesting and speaks to the students who would like to feel a connection between classroom materials and real-world applications. I am very pleased with the manuscript for the third edition. This revision is well-updated and a comprehensive introduction to the hardware and software fundamentals."
-David Brooks, Harvard University

"The logical development and explanations and examples were always great to begin with. The 'Historical Perspectives' have become even better-- they are part of the book that I enjoy most."
-David Harris, Harvey Mudd

Book Description

A thourough update of the Morgan Kaufmann classic.

Product Details

  • Series: The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Architecture and Design
  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 3 edition (August 16, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558606041
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558606043
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 7.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a tough book to review. On one hand, it's got an amazing amount of information in it. On the other, it's got a lot of editing problems. It also suffers from a lack of focus on who its audience is. So, splitting the difference, I'm rating this book at 4 stars out of 5.

Regarding the book's audience, it's vital that you pay attention to the chart on page xiii of the Preface. It maps your path through the book based on whether you're a software-type or a hardware-type. Assuming I was so brilliant that I could ignore such trivia, I attempted to plow my way through the whole book. Software-type that I am, I had some tough times in a couple of sections and then utterly failed to understand anything when I hit the core of Chapter 5. If I had paid attention to that chart, I would have known to skip that part of the book. However, even for the material that's within the path laid out for you by that chart, a lot of the work seems to assume knowledge on the part of the reader. For instance:

- Chapter 2 is about the MIPS assembly language. In the exercises, you're supposed to write various code snippets. Many of these snippets assume far more familiarity with writing entire assembly programs than is presented.
- The exercises at the end of each chapter are broken into three types: regular, "For More Practice," and "In More Depth." Those last two types require far more knowledge than is presented. It looks like the authors culled them from previous editions and, instead of trashing them, just stuck them on the CD and referenced them.
- Exercise 3.9 is annotated as requiring Section 3.2.
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Format: Paperback
I have the Second Edition of this text and think rather highly of it, despite some missteps here and there. When I first reviewed the Fourth Edition, I was a bit concerned about the reorganization of the topics because it didn't feel like a natural progression to me, but I was willing to concede that there are a number of ways to come at this material and allowed that what felt "natural" to me was almost certainly influenced by the Second Edition, so I was willing to go with the flow of the new text and see how it played out.

Half way through a semester trying to teach from this edition I still feel that there is no coherent flow, but again I'm willing to chalk that up to personal subjective preference.

The rest of my objections, however, are much more objective.

First, there are TWO versions of The Revised Printing of the 4th Edition! They appear to be the same, including identical copyright pages right down to the printing history. Yet they are not the same. As an example, on page 182 problem 2.4.3 the code in row b is significantly different. As near as I can tell, the errata sheet that is on the publisher's website is the difference -- it's as if part way through the printing run they decided to stop the presses, apply the errata, and then restart the presses and complete the run. This, on top of the fact that the exercises in the Revised Printing do not match those in the basic 4th Edition, makes it very difficult to assign problem sets to students since they are literally not reading from the same page.

Second, the authors have taken significant amounts of material out of the text yet have kept many exercises that rely on the removed material.
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1 Comment 40 of 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First, be aware that this is NOT the revised fourth edition, even though it says that it is.
The professor assigned problems, which the entire class got wrong because it was not the same version. It took 20 minutes to realize the exercise problems were just slightly different.
The formatting of the book is terrible. Critical paragraphs are split across pages. Exercise problems are also run-ons.
I love Kindle books for literature, but it is a bad way to present a textbook.
I called Amazon help, described the problem and they refunded the money. I purchased the print copy instead.
The takeaway: Get the print version.
Second takeaway: Amazon customer service is exceptional. That's why I buy from them.
Comment 16 of 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
The information contained in this book is sound, and the coverage of a variety of topics is relatively thorough. It is, however, difficult to appreciate these strengths given the numerous flaws in the text. Minor flaws include numerous misleading typographical errors, and too little attention to the flow of information.

The big mistake, though, is the failure to publish a complete book. If you want to learn from this book, then you will need to spend a good bit of time either sitting at a computer reading, or printing out the PDF files on the accompanying CD. The appendices (which are not extraneous, but rather a fundamental part of the text which contain information that's referred to throughout the book) are included ONLY on the accompanying CD. For more than 50% of the review exercises are just references to PDF files. The contents of the CD are not available from the publisher's web site. Do NOT buy a used copy of this book that's missing the accompanying CD. If you like taking books with you to read away from the office, don't buy this book at all. You'll spend too much effort wondering why the printer felt the need to offload a good bit of the printing work onto you. All of this is made even less tolerable by the poor information flow, which will leave you needing to make reference to the appendices many times throughout virtually all other chapters of the book.

It's possible that a future edition may fix these issues. Until then, there have to be better ways to learn.
Comment 19 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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