CISC (INTEL) and RISC (PowerPC)
A complex instruction set computer (CISC /ˈsɪsk/) is a computer where single instructions can execute several low-level operations (such as a load from memory, an arithmetic operation, and a memory store) and/or are capable of multi-step operations or addressing modes within single instructions. The term was retroactively coined in contrast to reduced instruction set computer (RISC).
RISC: from cell phones to supercomputers
RISC architectures are now used across a wide range of platforms, from cellular telephones and tablet computers to some of the world’s fastest supercomputers such as the K computer, the fastest on the TOP500 list in 2011.
By the beginning of the 21st century, the majority of low end and mobile systems relied on RISC architectures.Examples include:
- The ARM architecture dominates the market for low power and low cost embedded systems (typically 100–1200 MHz in 2011). It is used in a number of systems such as most Android-based systems, the Apple iPhone andiPad, RIM devices, Nintendo Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS, etc.
- The MIPS line, (at one point used in many SGI computers) and now in the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Nintendo 64,PlayStation Portable game consoles, and residential gateways like Linksys WRT54G series.
- Hitachi‘s SuperH, originally in wide use in the Sega Super 32X, Saturn and Dreamcast,
- Atmel AVR used in a variety of products ranging from Xbox handheld controllers to BMW cars.
High end RISC and supercomputing
- SPARC, by Oracle (previously Sun Microsystems), and Fujitsu.
- IBM‘s Power Architecture, used in many of IBM’s supercomputers, midrange servers and workstations.
- Hewlett-Packard‘s PA-RISC, also known as HP-PA, (discontinued at the end of 2008).
- Alpha, used in single-board computers, workstations, servers and supercomputers from Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP (discontinued as of 2007).