3DNow! refers to the developed by AMD, Cyrix and Centaur multimedia instruction set, which was introduced with the AMD K6 -2 in 1998. This expansion allowed for new commands directly in hardware, which could significantly speed up the processor when running computationally intensive applications. These new instructions were, however, only take effect when they were also supported by the respective programs, however, this was since the introduction of 3DNow! only to a small extent the case, since the majority of software developers after the launch in 1999, preferred the alternative development of Intel SSE inserting. One advantage of 3DNow! Extension towards the SSE extension, however, was that you store two 32 -bit floating-point numbers in a 3DNow! Register and with appropriate commands could also netted against each other, while this was not possible at SSE. This function was introduced later with SSE3 at SSE.

3DNow! should, as the name suggests, especially in the area of ​​3D graphics, so the vector operations, providing great speed advantages. For example, while MMX support only integers and thus exerts its strength rather in the processing of pixel data sets 3DNow! many commands for the processing of single precision floating point available.

Developed mainly as a place of this approach in ASICs ( from where it originates ) and in the AltiVec units of modern PowerPC CPUs - or on today's graphics cards.

AMD recommends the use of 3DNow! no more. Before using these commands, programmers should therefore check their availability using the appropriate CPUID bits. On 18 August 2010, AMD announced that upcoming processors would support no more 3DNow. Only the PREFETCH and PREFETCHW commands remain. Processors of the AMD Fusion series were then also the first AMD processors, where the instruction set extension accounted for again.

CPUs with 3DNow!

Since 3DNow! one of the first extensions to the x86 architecture was supported many CPUs ( except Intel ) years 3DNow!. For a complete list of all CPUs with 3DNow! would be very confusing. It should be therefore made to the list of microprocessors.

Below is an overview of CPU families in which the respective manufacturer 3DNow! have included:

  • AMD: AMD K6- 2 to AMD K10
  • Centaur Technology: from IDT WinChip 2 and up VIA C3 Ezra - T core processor including
  • Cyrix: Cyrix III ( Joshua ) and Cyrix MediaGX MXi (neither of which came on the market )