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There are other downsides to the ancient x86 instruction set than just a complicated decode step (which isn't all that complicated in transistor count). For example, think how much more efficient a compiler could be if it had 256 registers to work with. Or what if we could swap context in a cycle or two instead of the multi cycle ordeal that's needed now to go from user space to kernel space. It would finally make a micro kernel a viable option. Technically easy enough if you can start from scratch, but all software would need to be rewritten.

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