Note: I do have just enough self-awareness to file this story under our historical category, Time Machine.
Update 31 Oct, 2017:
- Destiny 2 has been patched to work on Phenom II CPUs.
- Added Nex Machina to the list.
UPDATE 25 Oct, 2017:
- Added Resident Evil 7 to the list. Like Destiny 2, it originally required SSSE3 support.
- Added Destiny 2 to the list. Tech support notes the game requires SSSE3. The developers “…are investigating the issue and will attempt to fix the crash” ((https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/236455208?sort=0&page=0)). See this post for more information.
There is a tiny, though increasing, category of PC platform video game ports: Games that no longer run on AMD’s Phenom AM2/3 CPUs. There is a simple reason why, shared by all these games: They have been programmed to require CPU support for Intel’s SSE 4 (“Streaming SIMD Extensions 4”) instruction set, version 4.1 or higher, or the SSSE3 (“Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extensions 3,” not to be confused with SSE3).
The Phenom CPUs, however, only support SSE up to 4.0, and lack SSSE3 support, as it was introduced in the Bobcat architecture in early 2011. These two issues, either/or, form the simple reason why some games, older and newer, fail to start on Phenom processors. As a surprise to absolutely no-one, I am one of these last Phenom survivors affected by this issue.
AMD produced Phenoms from 2007 to 2008, and Phenom II’s from 2008 to 2012. It’s now 2017, but to everyone’s surprise, these processors are still surprisingly feisty. The final Phenom II processors produced do not pale, much if at all, in comparison to AMD’s follow-up 2011 FX series – a fact that obviously has much to do with AMD’s failures at CPU development. After all, AMD is only finally beginning to catch up to Intel with the new Ryzen architecture released this year. Back in 2008, however, the Phenom was a competitively priced, powerful alternative to almost everything Intel was offering.
Admittedly, it’s been seven years since the Sep 21, 2010 introduction date of my AMD Phenom II X4 970 BE, but I’ve managed to hold on to it just fine. You may be surprised to hear it still runs
all most new games today. I won’t bore you with the details, given this is an article for the like-minded, but I just tried out three games on the Phenom-hating list: Dishonored 2, and Mafia 3, both which run easily around 60fps in high detail after being patched by developers, and Dead Rising 4, which doesn’t boot at all without SSE emulation (see below). Other new games, like Prey, work equally well.
I know 60fps isn’t great, or even good, but it’s not bad, either. Heck, I played the original Half-Life 2 on an Nvidia GeForce 2 MX GPU. That’s bad.
List of Games Not Supporting AMD Phenom at Launch
Below, I have compiled a list of PC ports that did not outright run on AMD Phenom CPUs. I’ve compiled information of current with patch notes and developer responses. The current list includes the following games:
- Agents of Mayhem,
- Dead Rising 4,
- Destiny 2,
- Dishonored 2,
- Mafia 3,
- Nex Machina,
- Earth Defense Force,
- METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN,
- No Man’s Sky,
- Resident Evil 7