Patent Number: 6,253,309

Title: Forcing regularity into a CISC instruction set by padding instructions

Abstract: A microprocessor configured to rapidly decode variable-length instructions is disclosed. The microprocessor is configured with a predecoder and an instruction cache. The predecoder is configured to expand variable-length instructions to create fixed-length instructions by padding instruction fields within each variable-length instruction with constants until each field reaches a predetermined maximum width. The fixed-width instructions are then stored within the instruction cache and output for execution when a corresponding requested address is received. The instruction cache may store both variable- and fixed-width instructions, or just fixed-width instructions. An array of pointers may be used to access particular fixed-length instructions. The fixed-length instructions may be configured to all have the same fields and the same lengths, or they may be divided into groups, wherein instructions within each group have the same fields and the same lengths. A software program configured to generate fixed-length instructions from variable-length instructions is also disclosed. A method for predecoding variable-length instructions is also disclosed.

Inventors: Mahalingaiah; Rupaka (Austin, TX)

Assignee: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.

International Classification: G06F 9/30 (20060101); G06F 9/38 (20060101); G06F 015/00 ()

Expiration Date: 06/26/2018