What Is an SSE2 Processor?

By David Perez

"SSE2" refers to Streaming SIMD Extensions 2, and "SIMD" is an abbreviation for a protocol known as "Single Instruction, Multiple Data." This is an instruction set designed by Intel. It gives programs the language they need to perform operations on data stored in the registers of a central processing unit or CPU.


SSE2 has 144 more instructions than the earlier SSE1 instruction set. It is capable of performing one task on multiple pieces of information simultaneously. SSE2 can handle 64-bit values while SSE1 could only handle 32-bit values, AnandTech reports.

Time Frame

Intel Introduced the SSE2 set in 2001. It was initially used in its family of Willamette processors. Competitor AMD began offering processors with SSE2 support in 2003. In 2004, Intel introduced the entirely new SSE3 instruction set in processors using its Prescott design.


While the Pentium 4 was Intel's first SSE2 processor, SSE2 support is also included in Intel's Xeon and Pentium M models. Intel also includes SSE2 support in CPUs that use later generations of SSE. AMD provides SSE2 support in its Phenom processors as well as Athlon 64 models using the company's K8 architecture.