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What CPU MMX and SSE Technology does for Multimedia



What CPU MMX and SSE Technology does for Multimedia

Two enhancements by Intel to CPU technology designed with multimedia applications in mind are MMX, which is used by the Pentium MMX, Pentium Pro, and Pentium II, and SSE, which is used by Pentium III. Multimedia software tends to use input/output operations more than it performs complex computations. Both MMX and SSE were designed to speed up the repetitive looping of multimedia software, needed to manage the high-volume input/output of graphics, motion video, animation, and sound. MMX technology added three new architectural enhancements to the Pentium, all designed to speed up the repetitive looping of multimedia.

New instructions. Intel added 57 new instructions to the CPU logic, all designed to handle the parallel, repetitive processing found in multimedia operations.

SIMD process. A process called single-instruction, multiple-data (SIMD) was added that allows the CPU to execute a single instruction on multiple pieces of data rather than having to repetitively loop back to the previous instruction many times.

Increased cache. Intel increased the size of the internal cache to 32K on the processor, reducing the number of times the CPU must access slower, off-chip memory for information.

The Pentium III introduced SSE (streaming SIMD extension), which is designed to improve the performance of high-end multimedia software. SSE can improve 3-D graphics, speech recognition, MPEG, and some scientific and engineering applications. Mainstream applications such as Word Processing and Spreadsheets will probably not see a performance gain because of SSE. Expect SSE to ultimately replace MMX technology in future CPUs and multimedia software.

Taking Advantage of MMX and SSE Technology

For the MMX or SSE technology to affect the performance of multimedia devices and software to its full extent, the multimedia software must be written to take advantage of these CPU enhancements. Look on the software package for the “Intel MMX” or “Intel SSE” symbol to make sure that the software is using that technology. Currently, MMX technology is in widespread use in multimedia software, but SSE has not yet been widely utilized.

Inserting the CD-ROM Drive

Some systems use rails on the drive to slide it into the bay. If you have them (the rails should come with your computer), screw the rails in place and slide the drive into the bay. If you have no rails, then put two screws on each slide of the drive, tightening the screws so the drive can’t shift, but avoiding over-tightening them. Use the screws that come with the drive; screws too long can damage the drive. If necessary, buy a mounting kit to extend the sides of the drive so that it will fit into the bay and be securely attached.

Connect the Cables and Cords

Find an unused four-prong power cord from the power supply and plug it into the drive. For IDE drives, connect the 40-pin cable to the IDE adapter and the drive, being careful to follow the Pin 1 rule: match the edge color on the cable to Pin 1 on both the adapter card and the drive.

Some CD-ROM drives come with an audio cord that attaches the interface card to a sound

card, which then receives sound input directly from the CD-ROM. Attach the audio cord if you have a sound card. Don’t make the mistake of attaching a miniature power cord designed for a 3 ½ inch disk drive coming from the power supply to the audio input connector on the sound card. The connections appear to fit, but you will probably destroy the drive by doing so.

Some drives have a good connection, with one end of the ground cable attaching to the computer case. Follow the directions included with the drive.

Verify Power to the Drive

What CPU MMX and SSE Technology does for Multimedia

Check all connections, and turn on the power. Press the eject button on the front of the drive. If it works, then you know power is getting to the drive.

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