Short Vector Extensions in Commercial Microprocessors
This Web page summarizes information about the
short vector extensions that
have been introduced or announced in almost every general-purpose
microprocessor on the market. These extensions have also been called "SIMD
(Single Instruction Multiple Data)" extensions.
This page is organized as follows:
If you know of any links that would be appropriate to include here,
them to me and I'll add them to the page. Thanks to the following
people who have provided relevant links:
David L. Oppenheimer,
- Table summarizing processors with
short vector extensions. Extensions are listed in order
of ship date or year announced.
Includes Web reference and links to more details elsewhere on this page.
- Notes on individual short vector extensions.
These are listed alphabetically by company name.
Summary of Short Vector Extensions
(listed in order of ship date or year announced)
Notes on Short Vector Extensions
(listed alphabetically by company name)
to 3DNow! technology: what it is, how it works, why it's needed.
- November 16, 1998: News
introducing 400MHz AMD K6-2 processor with 3DNow!
Alpha Architecture Handbook, Version 3, Oct 1996 (pdf)
- Section 4.13 describes "Multimedia (Graphics and Video) Support
- Only max, min, pack, unpack instructions. No arithmetic instructions.
- Excerpts from
64-bit and Multimedia Extensions in the PA-RISC 2.0 Architecture
Technical White Paper, Jerry Huck and Ruby Lee, 1996
The shift in the workloads of both technical and business
computations to include an increasing amount of multimedia
processing led to the
Multimedia Acceleration eXtensions (MAX)
which are part of the PA2 architecture. ...
Previously, a subset of these multimedia instructions were
included in the PA7100LC processor, an implementation of the
PA-RISC 1.1 architecture, as implementation-specific
 Lee R.B., "Accelerating Multimedia with Enhanced Microprocessors", IEEE
Micro, vol. 15, no. 2, Apr. 1995, pp.22-32.
 Gwennap L., "New PA-RISC Processor Decodes MPEG Video", Microprocessor
Report Vol 8 Num 1, Jan 24, 1994, pp . 16-17.
- The HP MAX instructions have been implemented in the PA-7100LC and
HP 9000 Model 712, Hewlett-Packard Journal,
Vol. 96, No. 2, April 1995.
- Issue featuring the HP 9000 Model 712 workstation,
an entry-level workstation with multimedia capability provided by
three VLSI chips:
the multi-media enhanced PA-RISC 71000LC processor,
a highly integrated I/O chip, and a high performance graphics chip.
Some useful links:
- A synopis
of the nine articles that describe the HP 9000 Model 712.
of Contents including brief synopses.
- Real-Time Software MPEG Video Decoder on Multimedia-Enhanced PA
PA-8000 Combines Complexity and Speed, Linley Gwennap, Microprocessor
Report, Vol. 8, No. 15, 14 November 1994.
- Article previewing HP's PA-8000 processor. Some highlights:
- first shipment predicted for 1Q96
- implements PA-RISC 2.0
- enhancements: full 64-bit data and address, FPMAC instruction and
multiple FP compare bits in FPU,
MAX instructions to support multimedia data types,
ability to operate in either big- or little-endian mode
- Related links:
Hewlett-Packard Computing Technologies Microprocessors
- Home page for HP microprocessors.
HP Precision Architecture
- Important dates:
| 7 May 1998
|| Intel completes beta version of Katmai processor which includes 70
SIMD floating-point instructions (reported in
article). Intel and Microsoft are providing low-level compiler
tools that support instrinsics that "give developers the ability to
write in C with nearly the same efficiency as hand-coded assembly
| Jan 1997
|| Pentium MMX hardware appears in the consumer market.
| 5 Mar 1996
|| Information about MMX technology is released to allow
software developers to begin creating MMX products
before the MMX hardware is available to the consumer.
- Web pages on MMX performance
- Intel's MMX
- Pointers to system-level performance data for integer benchmarks
multimedia benchmarks (eg., Intel Media, Norton Multimedia), FP
benchmarks (eg., SPEC, 3D graphics, 3D WinBench).
Better in Fits and Starts
- Feb 1997/Bits article by G. Armour Van Horn
- Performance comparison of a 200MHz MMX-based PC and
high-end 200MHz Mac running 5
Photoshop programs on a 8.17MB high-resolution RGB image.
- Conclusion: "Although MMX delivered dramatic performance in some
operations (see the chart), overall, a high-end Mac still beats
an MMX Pentium." Includes graph of execution times.
- Intel MMX for Multimedia PCs. Communications of the ACM,
- FAQ for MMX SDK
- MMX CPU Information
- A description of the various MMX implementations by AMD, Cyrix,and Intel.
- aic.co = Americana International Computers
- MMX Technology
- old Home page for MMX web space
Architectural and Design Implications of Mediaprocessing,
Pradeep Dubey, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, 20 Mar 1998
- A media processing tutorial that talks about various media applications,
bandwidth and compute resource requirements, shows how the media
instructions in various processors compare to each other, and also
discusses how several media processing tasks map onto different media
Tutorial slides of note:
comparing architectural features and instructions sets of
- Slides 3-6 The Tree: application layers for media applications;
user scenarios for short,
medium, and far term with estimated Media Hz requirements.
- Slide 19 Mediaprocessing-centric Workload: Characteristics and Implications
i.e., What are the architectural characteristics of a multimedia-based
- Slide 20: SIMD data types for multimedia tasks such as
video, audio, image processing, 3D graphics,
recognition, communication, media mining
- Slides 23-36: descriptions of several SIMD instructions
- Slide 37 What Separates AltiVec?
- Slides 39-43 The Bandwidth Problem:
includes estimates of bandwidth requirements
for video (different images sizes) and graphics (different graphics
- Slides 44 Mediaprocessing Functions (and Media tasks that use them)
- Slide 45 median filter
- Slide 55 DCT/FFT
- Slide 59 gamma correction
- Slide 68 Galois-field arithmetic
- Slide 76 Haar transform
Ties Mac's Future To AltiVec Instructions,
EE Times, 13 May 98
- Article reporting that Apple is committed to
using AltiVec and that "the Mac OS is even being altered to
exploit the instructions."
Excerpts from the article.
and IBM Split On Direction for PowerPC,
EE Times, 11 May 98
- Article reporting on IBM's decision to not offer
the AltiVec extensions in their G4 generation of PowerPC processors.
Motorola, on the other hand, will be implementing the AltiVec
extensions in their G4 processors in order to target the
emerging high-end digital signal processing market.
Excerpts from the article.
- Motorola to unveil new PowerPC design ,
CNET NEWS.COM, 6 May 1998
- Article announcing introduction of AltiVec,
a 162-instruction vector extension to the PowerPC. The hardware is
a new 128-bit SIMD execution unit that can execute in parallel with the
existing floating-point and integer units.
Excerpts from the article.
The Visual Instruction Set (VIS):
On-Chip Support for New Media Processing
- Whitepaper for VIS (95-022)
- FAQ for VIS SDK
- Joe Heinrich. MIPS RISC Architecture, Volume I:
Introduction to the ISA (2nd ed.).
Document Number 007-3515-001/007-3576-001, Feb 5, 1998.
- Ch 2: Overview of application-specific extensions MDMX and MIPS16;
no hardware has yet been implemented for MDMX.
- Ch 5: Details of MDMX extension.
Last Updated: 21 Nov 1998
Corinna G. Lee