Microprocessor Design/Instruction Decoder
The Instruction Decoder reads the next instruction in from memory, and sends the component pieces of that instruction to the necessary destinations.
RISC Instruction Decoder
The RISC instruction decoder is typically a very simple device. Because RISC instruction words are a fixed length, the positions of the fields are fixed. We can decode an instruction, therefore, by simply separating the machine word into small parts using wire slices.
CISC Instruction Decoder
Decoding a CISC instruction word is much more difficult than the RISC case, and the increased complexity of the decoder is a common reason that people cite when they choose to use RISC over CISC in their designs.
A CISC decoder is typically set up as a state machine. The machine reads the opcode field to determine what type of instruction it is, and where the other data values are. The instruction word is read in piece by piece, and decisions are made at each stage as to how the remainder of the instruction word will be read.