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The internal architecture of processors varies, and therefore the way that they execute programs varies as well. Some processors handle certain types of code much better than others. In addition, some processors have special performance-enhancing features, but in order to use them the code they execute must be arranged in a compatible way. For example, the Pentium processor has two separate integer execution units, called the U-pipe and the V-pipe. The U-pipe can execute any instruction while the V-pipe can only execute some. Programs that take this into account can structure themselves to get more performance than those that do not optimize themselves in this manner.
All instruction execution on the processor is done at the machine level, using machine language. However most code is written in higher-level languages such as C. Therefore, the important job of optimizing code is normally done by compilers, which are intricate programs that translate high-level languages into machine code.
Next: Native Execution Steps