On Aug 24, 2021, at 6:34 AM, Diane Bruce <db at
On Mon, Aug 23, 2021 at 09:09:55PM -0400, Paul Koning via cctalk wrote:
On Aug 23, 2021, at 8:38 PM, Tom Stepleton via
cctalk <cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
For the sake of illustration to folks who are not necessarily used to
thinking about what computers do at the machine code level, I'm interested
in collecting examples of single instructions for any CPU architecture that
are unusually prolific in one way or another.
Although I don't know it well, I suspect VAX will place well in one way or
Indeed. Just its addressing modes, with indirection and two separate register indexing
operations, are hairy enough. Then consider the decimal arithmetic instructions that
might have up to 6 operands.
And who can ever forget the built in CRC instruction?
Amusingly it was demonstrated that many of the CISC instructions were
faster if one just did them with the 'normal' instruction set.
Not too surprising given that the instruction worked 4 bits at a time while a reasonable
software implementation goes 8 bits at a time.
The more general point is one I learned on the Moto 68040. The task was to write a fast
packet forwarding module (for an FDDI -> Ethernet switch, wihch ended up being the
DECswitch 900). When I studied the instruction timings I realized the "RISC
subset" of the 68040 instruction set and addressing modes runs in one or two cycles
per instruction, while all the other cases take a great deal more. So I wrote it in the
RISC subset, and ended up processing 60k packets per second, in a 25 MHz processor.