Superscalar

A superscalar CPU can execute more than one instruction per clock cycle. Because processing speeds are measured in clock cycles per second (megahertz), a superscalar processor will be faster than a scalar processor rated at the same megahertz.

A superscalar architecture includes parallel execution units, which can execute instructions simultaneously. This parallel architecture was first implemented in RISC processors, which use short and simple instructions to perform calculations. Because of their superscalar capabilities, RISC processors have typically performed better than CISC processors running at the same megahertz. However, most CISC-based processors (such as the Intel Pentium) now include some RISC architecture as well, which enables them to execute instructions in parallel. Nearly all processors developed after 1998 are superscalar.

Updated in 2006 by Per C.

quizTest Your Knowledge

Which of the following is considered a "bare metal" system?

A
A computer chassis with no components
0%
B
A computer with no moving parts
0%
C
A computer that cannot be upgraded
0%
D
A computer with no operating system installed
0%
Correct! Incorrect!     View the Bare Metal definition.
More Quizzes →

The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

The definition of Superscalar on this page is an original definition written by the TechTerms.com team. If you would like to reference this page or cite this definition, please use the green citation links above.

The goal of TechTerms.com is to explain computer terminology in a way that is easy to understand. We strive for simplicity and accuracy with every definition we publish. If you have feedback about this definition or would like to suggest a new technical term, please contact us.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe or change your frequency setting at any time using the links available in each email.

Questions? Please contact us.