I am considering the purchase of some software (AutoCAD) that requires the CPU to support SSE2.

My PC's CPU is an Intel® Core™ i5-650 Processor, which supports SSE4.2.

Basically what I am wondering is whether SSE4.2 is simply a newer version of SSE2, and if so are newer versions of SSE backwards compatible?


For Intel, CPUs that support SSE instructions have always been backwards compatible. It may not be true in the future though.

  • 2
    But it probably always will be thus. – squircle May 3 '10 at 21:03
  • SSE2 was available almost 10 years ago. I think you will not be able to get a computer with only SSE2 :-) Intel/AMD are still supporting the old x86 architecture from so many years ago, starting with 8086 so I doubt you have reason to fear.. – Ghita Jan 4 '13 at 13:23

As a little extra info you can use the program CPU-Z to give you information on what your processor supports. Under "Instructions" will be listed the the extended instruction sets supported.

Most processors that support a higher set such as SSE4 will also support the previous versions, as each instruction set version is likely to build on previous versions.

For example, a model above your processor, note the "SSE(1, 2, 3, 3S, 4.1, 4.2)":

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