On the surface, a microprocessor’s registers seem like simple storage, but not in the 8085 microprocessor. Reverse-engineering the 8085 reveals many interesting tricks that make the registers fast and compact. The picture below shows that the registers and associated control circuitry occupy a large fraction of the chip, so efficiency is important. Each bit is implemented with a surprisingly compact circuit. The instruction set is designed to make register accesses efficient. An indirection trick allows quick register exchanges. Many register operations use the unexpected but efficient data path of going through the ALU.
- Ken Shirriff | righto.com