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Best Assembler to go with MSVC++ 4.1

icd asked
Last Modified: 2010-04-01
Not quite the right place to ask this question but...

If I want to make a program with both C and Assembler for a 32 bit application what is the best assembler to use?

It must support the latest op-codes for Pentiums.
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Oh dear, I see it was 100 points.  Example inline assember:

void functionMyFunction()
  int nMyCVariable;

_asm {

  mov al, 55h  ;// use this sequence as comment to get
  mov ebx, [nMyCVariable] ;// comment & syntax highlighting
  inc ebx
  mov [nMyCVariable], ebx
  jnz  label

I should also write a little piece of C representative of the inner loop you intend to code in assembler, compile it with all the optimizations switched on and an assembler listing enabled (Project|Settings|C/C++|Category:Listing Files|Listing File Type|Assembly,Machine Code and Source) as you may be surprised at how reasonable the code from modern compilers is for most cases.  I recently wrote some realtime signal processing application code in C on a pentium and when I checked the output found it was optimal wall-to-wall FPU instructions for hundreds of lines.




Not quite what I had in mind. I did know about the _asm instruction in C but rejected it for my purpose. The main reason being it could not support the db instruction.
Having said that I have just been told about the _emit instruction which I am just about to look up.

Really, I wanted a macro assembler since I have quite a bit of assembler to write.

I will get back to you.

>>Oh dear, I see it was 100 points
I see you're hungry :)

Also I can suggest the MASM v6.11

For some tasks the external assembler is preferable (or even is a single solution) than the built-in assembler.

If you need to intertwine C/C++ assets/variables and assembler then this is the way to go.  But I would look again at the code quality produced by the compiler; in my experience the effort of handcoding all but the tightest loops has not been repaid.

>> I would look again at the code quality produced by the compiler
I wouldn't.   The code produced by the compiler is increadibly bad.  Terribly slow, inneficient, and large.  But despite that, warmcat  is right.  Even in the critical sections of your program you aren't likely to see much improvement from assembly.  

Take it from me, I've written and I am maintaining a 500,000 line assembly program.  And I'm rewriting the whole thing in C++.


I recognise that C is more maintainable/efficient/etc that hand coded assembler. I am however writing a security product and need to get down to assembler to make it more difficult to reverse engineer. (an impossible task I know!).

OK. Is MASM V6.11 still available from Microsoft?

MASM 6.11 comes with the DDK package.

The DDK package comes with MSDN (http://msdn.microsoft.com/developer/) and is worth the money

You can but MASM 6.11 seperately too.  I assume that is cheaper.

Note however that (despite thier claims) Microsoft no longer supports masm.  The technical support is through the C++ people.  My last 2 calls resulted in long discussions where I had to teach them enough to understand the question.  No one was able to resolve the problems.  There has not been an upgrade in about 5 years.  I'm an alpha tester and have not been contacted about future testing.  The masm team members I know of all seem to be working elsewhere.  


Thanks everyone, all gave good answers, sorry I can't share the points.
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