You’re both quite right!
When there’s an if(/else) the compiler/specializer can encode it as branches or inline it using if-conversion, and can evaluate which is best (which may differ on different Mill members).
The if(/else) can be solved by the if and the else blocks being their own EBBs with a conditional branch, or by computing both the if and the else blocks in parallel.
As the Mill is such a wide target (especially on the middle and high end Mills) with so many pipelines and because loads can be hoisted up to their address being computable without fear of aliasing its often so that many if(/else) can be done in parallel speculatively and this is a huge win for performance. Usually you only have to introduce some strategic
0s to nullify some untaken paths you are executing speculatively rather than needing lots of conditional ops and picks.
Its hard to get a feel for this without concrete code and we will be making a real simulator available in the new year.
One note, its important that the belt be consistent at all times but its irrelevant what the belt contents are if they are unused. If all instructions after a certain point are consuming slots 0 and 3 then it doesn’t matter the values of any other belt slots. There are cheap fast opcodes for moving items to the front of the belt like
conform to do this rearrangement.