All PIC18 devices include an 8x8 hardware multiplier as part of the ALU. The multiplier performs an unsigned operation and yields a 16-bit result that is stored in the product register pair, PRODH:PRODL. The multiplier’s operation does not affect any flags in the STATUS register.

Making multiplication a hardware operation allows it to be completed in a single instruction cycle. This has the advantages of higher computational throughput and reduced code size for multiplication algorithms and allows the PIC18 devices to be used in many applications previously reserved for digital signal processors. A comparison of various hardware and software multiply operations, along with the savings in memory and execution time, is shown in Table 1.