Linked by Nicholas Blachford on Sun 10th Feb 2002 17:37 UTC
Editorial "This will end up being one of the world's worst investments, I'm afraid," - David House, former Intel chief of corporate strategy said in the early 1990s. I've been fasinated by microprocessors for years and have been following the Merced debacle since back in 1994 when HP and Intel announced they were getting together to make some amazing new technology.
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The Althon engine is purely internal and there is no reason for AMD to expose it even if they could. The big selling point for Athlon is compatibility with legacy applications. If AMD exposed the engine they would have a RISC chip, but one that isn't compatible with any existing processor architecture and which doesn't have any software. Take it from someone who's been there / done that, there are better ways to throw away money.

You also need to understand that the real problem with decoding multiple x86 instructions is to identify the start of each instruction. That's hard because you have to (partially) decode each instruction to identify the one after it. (This is one of the primary advantages of fixed-size instructions in architectures like PowerPC or Alpha.) Once you've found the instructions, decoding them is comparatively easy. Athlon "cheats" by remembering where the start of each instruction is. This is almost as efficient as remembering the decoded instructions (as Pentium 4 does), but a heck of a lot easier.