Temporarily I have to use an older PC with "AMD Athlon XP" processor (1533 Mhz) which doesn't include the SSE2 instruction set unlike P4 and above. I have to use it for a couple of months till I manage to buy a laptop or a used P4 mainboard.

I tried Opera 43, Vivaldi 1.7, latest Chromium 56, all would need an SSE2 capable processor:

Illegal instruction (core dumped)

I am using Arch Linux as the operating system. The latest Firefox works, but I don't like it, terribly slow. Should I stuck on Opera-legacy (12.0)?

Arch: Intel
Vendor: "AuthenticAMD"
Model: 6.8.0 "AMD Athlon(tm) XP"
Features: fpu,vme,de,pse,tsc,msr,pae,mce,cx8,sep,mtrr,pge,mca,cmov,pat,pse36,mmx,fxsr,sse,syscall,mmxext,3dnowext,3dnow,eagerfpu,3dnowprefetch,vmmcall
Clock: 1533 MHz
BogoMips: 3068.86
Cache: 256 kb
  • i'm not 100% sure, but maybe NetSurf is worth a look. Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 13:55

6 Answers 6


I'd stick with the 12.x version. I'm running 12.16 quite happily on Gentoo with an AthlonXP barton.

I really like the AthlonXP series of processors, I have several. Sadly, SSE2 seems to be some magic bullet to browser makers. It's not like you can't ship a binary that checks for sse2 compatibility and uses those instructions if able. Amusingly, many of the companies requiring SSE2 and/or 64-bit, make browsers that work fine on ARM platforms that are 32-bit and lack SSE2.

  • 2
    Thx, now I discovered PaleMoon browser, which is quite fast, and a subset of Firefox addons also works, at least with some tricks I nedded the Clippings addon specifically, which forks fine -, but it has a database of that tricks, and a compatibility list of the addons. So I am satisfied with it.
    – Konstantin
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 2:34
  • ARM and x86 are completely different and unrelated. SSE2 is on x86 only and none other architectures have it, so obviously there's nothing that prevents an app from running on ARM if there's no SSE2 on it. The developer might just turn on autovectorization so that the compiler emits SSE2 code automatically on x86 and Neon on ARM. For hot code paths they may write specific SSE2 and Neon (inline) assembly to squeeze more speed, hence it won't work for other ISAs
    – phuclv
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 17:33

antiX linux 16.1 runs perfectly in my athlon 2200 XP. It includes FF 45, flash and Libre Office 4. None of the programs need SSE2. Alejandro Lieber

  • The OP wants a browser. Nothing says (s)he is willing to switch OS
    – user416
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 13:50
  • Alejandro, could you please explain what antiX linux is and why this is relevant for SSE2? I think this can be a good answer, as the asker might be OK with switching OS as a last resort. Thanks!
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 3:35
  • 1
    antiX is a very complete and very light linux distribution. I use the 32bit version in a athlon XP 2200+ with 1GBy and all programs work, including Firefox 45. It also includes a Flash viewer that works without the need of SSE2. Go to: antix.mepis.org/. Alejandro Lieber Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 22:12
  • of course FF45 can run on it, because FF only requires SSE2 support on v49 and up
    – phuclv
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 17:36

I own a Sempron 2300+ based PC -- good enough to play HD videos, thus still useful.

I also noticed the irony in Guest's reply (of 2017, Jun 6) about supporting 32-bit for ARM but not for x86.

antiX is a good recommendation (by Alejandro) because it's orientated towards older computers, with simpler tools and applications. The idea is to focus on distros which offer Firefox versions up to 53. There's a warning at:


You have some time yet with FF ESR (until March 2018, according to that link).

I had a positive experience while testing Mageia 6 -- just don't use KDE5, based on Qt5 which demands SSE2. Also I tried Cinnamon and it went like molasses, as I recall also because some heavy special instruction use (see ahead about being light (1)). XFce was OK.

Slackware is nice, very stable and probably will give that machine some years of use. I recommend its derivative Salix, a little easier to use. There's a very light ISO with Openbox. They were still on Qt4 last time I checked (a year ago or so, version 14.1). I faintly recall Qupzilla working in Salix 14.1.

It's critical to make sure repositories have apps which don't use Qt5 (for instance). Beware of some distributions on Distrowatch reported as supporting 32-bit but no longer doing it.

Some claim to support 686 but really don't (the Sempron 2300+ is an i686) -- instead they support Pentium 4 or above (the Sempron is newer!) meaning in fact that they require SSE2. As I understand, that excludes Ubuntu derivatives, generally speaking, like Lubuntu.

(1) It's interesting to notice that SSE2 support is kind of a divisive thing since it won't run in certain old PCs but will make even older CPUs -- which support that opcode -- a lot faster... thus looking&feeling lighter on them.


I managed to get Firefox 28 to work from Ubuntu Archive on my Athlon XP 1900+ running Ubuntu Precise 12.04.


Firefox 52 didn't work, but I didn't try Firefox 45.


Antix includes the links2 web browser and Dillo out of the box, which I believe do not require SSE2 support (although they are not as functional as Palemoon or Firefox).

Also you can install Palemoon non-SSE2 edition right from the package manager.

The performance on an old Athlon machine with 512 Mb RAM is worderful!!!!

  • How can you install the non-SSE2 edition of Palemoon?
    – Alex
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 17:46

GNOME Web works just fine without SSE2, even in 2022 (latest version). https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/GNOME/Web

I'm using it on an Athlon XP. If you have 1 GB RAM or more, you should be fine.

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