Motorola 68000/Talk

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(Vax, 320xx microprocessor usually produced more compact code than 68000 also. Sometimes the 8086 as well.
Hard to believe. The VAX is a 32-bit machine.

(Yes, but it was byte-coded, very compact. GJ)

The TI 32000 series is a RISC machine, isn't it?

(possibly, for some definitions of RISC. But i meant the Natsemi chip 32016 and successors. I have now fixed the link! GJ)

RISCs execute fast, but their code is not compact.

(RISC is not usually compact. But several are not much worse than 68K, and the HP-PA allegedly beats nearly everything for code size. No i don't know how, and i never got my hands on one to test. GJ)

Even space-optimized RISCs like the ARM need larger code than the 68K. They had to really sweat the ARM down with the "thumb" and "thumbscrew" approaches to reduce it to less than the 68K. Just reading about it tells me somebody had a bad 6 months getting there.

Certainly the 8086 is not smaller; You'll cram about 2x as much code into a 68K machine per byte as an x86. If you don't believe -me-, see the 6/27/97 entry:

x86 code is just not that compact. Ray Van De Walker

(It was 20% smaller than 68K the only time i actually coded something in both and cared enough to check the sizes. It did depend on what you were coding. 32 bit arithmetic on 8086 was horrible, and running out of registers was nearly as bad. And if you could make use of auto increment and decrement on 68K that was a big win. But the stuff i did mostly avoided all that, and was extremely compact on 8086. This experience was apparently almost normal for hand coded 16 bit stuff. 68K usually won for stuff from compilers. With the 80386, Intel became more "normal" and all the comparisons probably changed. -- Geronimo Jones)

That web page (~heller) seems like an especially bogus comparison. 1) using C++ is a joke, neither CPU architecture was designed to support it. C would be a better language to compiler. 2) using different breed compilers is silly, you should use compilers from the same stable. For example, the lattice C compiler targets both architectures, as does Metrowerks (just about), and of course gcc. 3) the program you compile probably makes a big difference. As GJ points out 32-bit ops on an 8086 are a pain, but if your C program uses mostly 'int' then that's not a problem. On a 80486 it might not make much difference. --drj

--- These are all reasonable objections. However, there's no doubt that many designers thought that it was more compact. So, I rewrote it from a NPOV to say so. I also rewrote the orthogonality discussion from a NPOV. I hope that helps. Ray Van De Walker