MMX : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary


MMX (Multi-Media extension). This is mostly a marketing ploy by Intel, akin to Gleam toothpaste’s GL/70 and Chloret’s Retsyn. Other chip manufacturers are now also offering MMX. Intel wants you to think MMX is a true digital signal processor, but it is not. Technically, MMX is a SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) auxiliary 64-bit processor integrated with the CPU (Central Processing Unit) than can handle 2 identical 32-bit calculations at once, 4 16-bit or 8 8-bit. If your machine has a non-accelerated video card, MMX may help. True dedicated hardware does the job faster and cheaper. MMX is primarily for jazzing up sound and 3D graphics in games. Not much software currently exploits it, but most new computers are being sold with it, so software should soon follow. You might think of it as a solution in search of a problem.

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