So I never really understood the von Neumann architecture, and have started to revise it as I wasn't in school during the lessons of the CPU. Can't really get help through my teacher as they wont respond to their email.

I have learnt about the von Neumann architecture, and now I need to know how the architecture differs from a contemporary processor.

I know that contemporary processors sometime use a mixture of Harvard and von Neumann architecture by using Harvard for the communication between the control unit and caches though for cost effective reasons von Neumann is used between the main memory and cpu.

The specification point wants to know how it differs though, and I will be very thankful for any responses that might answer the question.



1 Answer 1


Well I think I may have answered my own question, the specification just wanted to know how it differs from the pure von Neumann architecture. It differs as contemporary processors use a mixture of architectures from Harvard and von Neumann for many reasons (mainly cost) and where speed advantages outweigh the complexity costs.

Contemporary processors use a mixture of both von Neumann and Harvard architecture, which differs from a pure von Neumann architecture by using von Neumann architecture for the main memory to the CPU and Harvard for the control unit and caches.

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    $\begingroup$ The problem with terms as Harvard and Von Neumann is they are really dated, and computers from that era were made of vacuum tubes and phone relays, memory was incredibly difficult to implement. Sharing vs. separating the storage and transfer of data and code was far more a technological problem than a fundamental idea about how computer should be made. $\endgroup$
    – Grabul
    Jun 3, 2017 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ @TEMLIB Is it safe to say that today's computers are so complex in details that they no longer fit it in those aged architecture terms? $\endgroup$
    – Megidd
    Jun 8, 2017 at 9:45

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