AMD Drops 3DNow! Support From Future CPUs

It really doesn't feel like it was that long ago when AMD introduced its own SIMD extensions called 3DNow!, but it's been long enough now that the chip company is sending the technology out to pasture.

AMD announced last week that 3DNow! is deprecated and will not be supported in certain upcoming AMD processors and will not have that feature flag bit set.

What does this mean for those who make software using these AMD instructions?

If your software used 3DNow! instructions at any point in time you should confirm that you only take that code path after checking to see if the feature is supported during runtime, using CPUID.Most likely, your code already has another code path to take, such as an SSE path, if 3DNow! instructions are not supported. To reiterate, make sure that the code uses feature bits to determine when the code should take this path. If the code uses the vendorID string rather than a feature bit to make the path determination, AMD processors that support SSE may end up taking a slower path as a result.

Read the full post from the AMD developer blog.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • decode
    Barely even knew about this feature, except that I had it, Lol!
  • pogsnet
    This feature started before SSE comes out in Pentium III era
  • jj463rd
    Oh yeah I remember the 3DNow extensions on my old K6-2 CPU from 1998.
  • San Pedro
    Those of you playing still playing Quake 2 (wouldn't blame you) are out of luck.
  • Mottamort
    So my Quake 2 is going to run slightly slower..? :( /sarcasm
  • baracubra
    Anyone else thought that AMD/ATI is finally gonna introduce 3D support?
  • ajcroteau
    3DNow was huge back in the day... I had a couple of K6-2 cpu's and both ran fairly well... but it looks like it's gone the way of the dinosaurs...
  • mavroxur
    3DNow! has been surpassed many code extensions? And if your software supported 3DNow!, the software will still run, just without the extensions now. Which might be a performance issue....if your software wasn't 15 years old and designed to run on K6-2 CPU's anyways. So the 10% performance hit you take from no 3DNow! will be canceled by the 1000000% performance gain from a modern CPU :-)
  • Xatos
    ^ Exactly.
  • COLGeek
    Things change. 3DNow! served its purpose and that is now behind us. In the day, 3DNow! was cool, but not often used so its passing at a time when CPUs are so much more advanced could have passed without an AMD announcement (except in the old dude SW dev world). BTW, I am one of those old dudes.