Re: Computer says "No"
"Microcode was the way of getting the benefits of RISC on the horrific X86 instruction set."
Actually, microcode has been around since CPUs existed. it's how they work internally. From what I was told (in a college class) the IBM 360 had microcode on plastic cards with holes in them, which were read by changes in capacitance for sense wires running along the top and bottom (rows and columns). that way you could re-program the IBM 360's microcode by using a stack of cards.
The concept of RISC (as I recall) was to get closer to the microcode to streamline the instruction pipeline and reduce the size (etc.) of the core, though it's not the same thing as BEING microcode.
I don't recall MIPS or ARM _EVER_ being faster than the high-end x86's. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. I don't remember hearing that. I'm pretty sure it was the other way around.