Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Do OSes benefit from these things, or just games?

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Mokubai, Diogo, Renan, Randolph West, Canadian Luke Aug 8 '12 at 21:44

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

These are a collection of "extended" instructions in the CPU.

They are used for accelerating common 'media' based operations, such as FFT (Fast Fourier Transform), Matrix transformations, and such.

The MMX and SSE are mainly geared towards working with media streams (audio and video) but have applications elsewhere. 3DNow! as the name suggests is more geared towards 3D transformations.

While the main thing to benefit are media applications and games the instructions can be used in many other applications.

share|improve this answer

No, it's only for specially-compiled applications, mainly games, graphics, multimedia, etc. applications. OSes don't take advantage of them because they rarely need to perform Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) operations (which means they would apply the same instructions on massive amounts of data).

share|improve this answer
    
Then why can Linux be compiled to use SSE? –  tony_sid Apr 21 '11 at 9:23
    
Despite some meanings, that linux is just for servers and freaks, the linux-community brought up some games. Maybe they could benefit from SSE. –  wullxz Apr 21 '11 at 9:26
    
Scientific applications can also profitably use SSE, so if you're running such an application on Linux (quite common in my neighborhood) then you want SSE available. I'm not too familiar with compiling kernels from scratch, do you have any in about compiling a kernel to support SSE or not? That might help improve the answer. –  dsolimano Apr 21 '11 at 17:50
    
@dsolimano: Nope, I don't have experience compiling kernels either, sorry. :( –  Mehrdad Apr 21 '11 at 18:36

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.