Linux kernel will phase out AMD 3DNow! instruction set

As part of the kernel changes of Linux version 5.17, the code related to AMD 3DNow! instruction set will be abandoned, and related changes have been submitted. These codes have existed in the Linux kernel for 23 years, and finally, it’s time to withdraw from the stage of history. In the future, AMD’s old processors and 3DNow! related support will not be able to run these instruction sets in the Linux kernel.

AMD released the 3DNow! instruction set in 1998, which is based on the MMX instruction set to provide higher performance for vector processing of floating-point data. The 3DNow! instruction set contains 21 new instructions, first applied to the K6-2 processor, making it the first x86 processor capable of executing floating-point SIMD instructions. When AMD released the Athlon processor in 1999, it also added 5 new instructions to the 3DNow! instruction set, becoming an extended 3DNow! instruction set.
Linux kernel AMD 7nm Zen2

At the turn of the century, the 3DNow! instruction set has been supported by many manufacturers in the industry and has a wider range of applications, improving the performance of games, video playback, and even image processing. From K6-2 to Bulldozer architecture AMD processors, you can find the 3DNow! instruction set.

In order to counter the 3DNow! instruction set, Intel subsequently introduced the SSE instruction set, which fully supports the IEEE754 standard, while providing almost all the functions of the 3DNow! instruction set, it greatly improves the single-precision floating-point processing speed. With the release of the Pentium III processor, the SSE instruction set gradually dominated, and later AMD began to adopt it when it released the Athlon processor code-named Thunderbird in 2000.

AMD officially announced as early as 2010 that the “3DNow! Instructions” function flag will no longer be set in the new processors, and some processors will no longer provide support in the future.