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I don't understand the explanation. Doesn't the assembler have to calculate 3 * 4 + 5 so it takes longer to execute? Also since 3 * 4 +5 has more characters why does it not take more storage?

From problem 2 of:https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-computer-science/6-004-computation-structures-spring-2017/c9/c9s3/isa_answers.pdf

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this homework? \$\endgroup\$
    – Justme
    Sep 15, 2020 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ No it's from ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-computer-science/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Ray
    Sep 15, 2020 at 19:18
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ You are confusing build/compile/assembly stage with executions stage. Build is slightly slower, but you do that only once. Executing is equally fast for both options and you usually do that many times. \$\endgroup\$
    – jippie
    Sep 15, 2020 at 19:38

1 Answer 1


The assembler (compiler) has to calculate the constant at assembly time, so the compilation to binary is marginally slower. A human cannot tell the difference so the compilation time it takes is irrelevant.

The resulting assembly binary will be identical, so they are both equally sized and equally fast programs.

  • \$\begingroup\$ From the point of view of software development, it's good to put the calculation in the source code so it can be checked when modifications are necessary. Even better, define sybolic constants so the expression is more easily understood and a change to a real-world value can be made in one place (the definition of the constant). \$\endgroup\$
    – grahamj42
    Sep 16, 2020 at 8:29

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