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1 it is lie that people like to wank on about. The inefficient x86 portion of a CPU they talk about is less than 1% of the transistors in a modern processor. The first thing an intel processor does when it receives an x86 Opcode is translate it into a more efficient internal Opcode that it actually executes. In fact it could be claimed this has helped to improve efficiency because front side bus bandwidth is at a premium and Opcodes that convey more information help conserve FSB bandwidth. Basically if it wasn't a processor designer who told you that I would take it with a grain of salt because people(including myself) like to pontificate on topics which are adjacent to their domains of knowledge, but which they know little.

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