Computer Architecture studies (i) the techniques used to design and implement the principle components of a computer system and (ii) the mechanisms that can be used to quantitatively evaluate the expected performance capabilities of the different design possibilities. Hopefully you will find the topic of this class enjoyable. However, there is a substantial amount of reading required for this class. Please plan accordingly.
The textbook accompanying this class is well regarded and is that basis upon which a solid foundation of computer architecture can be built. The textbook is, however, only a beginning. Architecture is a fast moving field and new techniques and design solutions are constantly emerging.
Finally, the quantitative techniques and methods in this book are a solid foundations from which you can evaluate design alternatives. However, these are not the only methods and you should not be afraid to explore and use alternate methods that might be suitable. Furthermore, the quantitative techniques in this text can easily be generalized to apply to other situations where various design alternatives are being considered. Do not hesitate to carry the idea of quantitative assessment to other design processes.
As always, if you have any questions/problems, please feel free to drop by my office (836 Rhodes Hall) to discuss your issues (tues/thurs please).