If you’re someone who’s using the same Windows computer today that you first played the original Guild Wars on or purchased the year that Youtube and Reddit were born, then you may soon face some difficulty going forward if you prefer the Chrome browser for surfing the web.
Though admittedly small, the user base for Chrome users on devices dating back to the early to mid-2000s still exists. A new policy document published by the Chromium development team states that they will be dropping support for processors that lack something called SSE3, or Streaming SIMD Extensions 3, in x86 Chrome builds.
The requirement to run SSE3 will not affect macOS, Android, or Chrome OS devices whatsoever as they’ve run this since 2014 (Chrome 35, Android L), but will affect a tiny portion of Windows and Linux users running Chrome on dusty old systems. That’s right, users who haven’t upgraded their hardware in 15+ years! Those affected will receive a notification beginning with M87 stating that they need to upgrade in order to use Chrome. Beginning with Chrome 89, attempting to run Chrome on these devices will result in a crash, and the option to install it will be removed entirely when the user’s hardware is detected and seen to be insufficient.
“Until we require SSE3, Chrome will warn impacted users (with x86 CPUs that don’t support SSE3) that their computers will soon be unsupported. The implementation will use the framework in //chrome/browser/obsolete_system. This will result in a dismissable warning bar, and a permanent warning in the chrome://settings/help page,”Chromium Developers Policy Document
It’s likely that devices running the outdated SSE2 are being dropped by Google because there are so few of them comparatively, and it may provide a slight performance boost to the majority of users. In fact, the policy document cites a 5kb improvement on official Chrome Builds. Yes, I know that’s virtually nothing, but it’s something.
I actually have my earliest, most fond memories of these devices, but it looks as though it truly is time to move on now if you’re able to and are still interested in using Google’s browser. Keep in mind that Chromium Edge also requires SSE3, so if you go with really any of the major players in the marketplace, you’ll have to be running up-to-date hardware.