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What are the differences between RISC and CISC?

The short answer is that RISC is perceived by many as an improvement over CISC. There is no best architecture since different architectures can simply be better in some scenarios but less ideal in others.  RISC-based machines execute one instruction per clock cycle. CISC machines can have special instructions as well as instructions that take more than one cycle to execute. This means that the same instruction executed on a CISC architecture might take several instructions to execute on a RISC machine. The RISC architecture will need more working (RAM) memory than CISC to hold values as it loads each instruction, acts upon it, then loads the next one.

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PowerPoint - CISC and RISC