3.17.15 Intel 386 and AMD x86-64 Options

These -m options are defined for the i386 and x86-64 family of computers:

-mtune=cpu-type
Tune to cpu-type everything applicable about the generated code, except for the ABI and the set of available instructions. The choices for cpu-type are:
generic
Produce code optimized for the most common IA32/AMD64/EM64T processors. If you know the CPU on which your code will run, then you should use the corresponding -mtune option instead of -mtune=generic. But, if you do not know exactly what CPU users of your application will have, then you should use this option.

As new processors are deployed in the marketplace, the behavior of this option will change. Therefore, if you upgrade to a newer version of GCC, the code generated option will change to reflect the processors that were most common when that version of GCC was released.

There is no -march=generic option because -march indicates the instruction set the compiler can use, and there is no generic instruction set applicable to all processors. In contrast, -mtune indicates the processor (or, in this case, collection of processors) for which the code is optimized.

native
This selects the CPU to tune for at compilation time by determining the processor type of the compiling machine. Using -mtune=native will produce code optimized for the local machine under the constraints of the selected instruction set. Using -march=native will enable all instruction subsets supported by the local machine (hence the result might not run on different machines).
i386
Original Intel's i386 CPU.
i486
Intel's i486 CPU. (No scheduling is implemented for this chip.)
i586, pentium
Intel Pentium CPU with no MMX support.
pentium-mmx
Intel PentiumMMX CPU based on Pentium core with MMX instruction set support.
pentiumpro
Intel PentiumPro CPU.
i686
Same as generic, but when used as march option, PentiumPro instruction set will be used, so the code will run on all i686 family chips.
pentium2
Intel Pentium2 CPU based on PentiumPro core with MMX instruction set support.
pentium3, pentium3m
Intel Pentium3 CPU based on PentiumPro core with MMX and SSE instruction set support.
pentium-m
Low power version of Intel Pentium3 CPU with MMX, SSE and SSE2 instruction set support. Used by Centrino notebooks.
pentium4, pentium4m
Intel Pentium4 CPU with MMX, SSE and SSE2 instruction set support.
prescott
Improved version of Intel Pentium4 CPU with MMX, SSE, SSE2 and SSE3 instruction set support.
nocona
Improved version of Intel Pentium4 CPU with 64-bit extensions, MMX, SSE, SSE2 and SSE3 instruction set support.
core2
Intel Core2 CPU with 64-bit extensions, MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3 and SSSE3 instruction set support.
k6
AMD K6 CPU with MMX instruction set support.
k6-2, k6-3
Improved versions of AMD K6 CPU with MMX and 3dNOW! instruction set support.
athlon, athlon-tbird
AMD Athlon CPU with MMX, 3dNOW!, enhanced 3dNOW! and SSE prefetch instructions support.
athlon-4, athlon-xp, athlon-mp
Improved AMD Athlon CPU with MMX, 3dNOW!, enhanced 3dNOW! and full SSE instruction set support.
k8, opteron, athlon64, athlon-fx
AMD K8 core based CPUs with x86-64 instruction set support. (This supersets MMX, SSE, SSE2, 3dNOW!, enhanced 3dNOW! and 64-bit instruction set extensions.)
k8-sse3, opteron-sse3, athlon64-sse3
Improved versions of k8, opteron and athlon64 with SSE3 instruction set support.
amdfam10, barcelona
AMD Family 10h core based CPUs with x86-64 instruction set support. (This supersets MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4A, 3dNOW!, enhanced 3dNOW!, ABM and 64-bit instruction set extensions.)
winchip-c6
IDT Winchip C6 CPU, dealt in same way as i486 with additional MMX instruction set support.
winchip2
IDT Winchip2 CPU, dealt in same way as i486 with additional MMX and 3dNOW! instruction set support.
c3
Via C3 CPU with MMX and 3dNOW! instruction set support. (No scheduling is implemented for this chip.)
c3-2
Via C3-2 CPU with MMX and SSE instruction set support. (No scheduling is implemented for this chip.)
geode
Embedded AMD CPU with MMX and 3dNOW! instruction set support.

While picking a specific cpu-type will schedule things appropriately for that particular chip, the compiler will not generate any code that does not run on the i386 without the -march=cpu-type option being used.

-march=cpu-type
Generate instructions for the machine type cpu-type. The choices for cpu-type are the same as for -mtune. Moreover, specifying -march=cpu-type implies -mtune=cpu-type.
-mcpu=cpu-type
A deprecated synonym for -mtune.
-mfpmath=unit
Generate floating point arithmetics for selected unit unit. The choices for unit are:
387
Use the standard 387 floating point coprocessor present majority of chips and emulated otherwise. Code compiled with this option will run almost everywhere. The temporary results are computed in 80bit precision instead of precision specified by the type resulting in slightly different results compared to most of other chips. See -ffloat-store for more detailed description.

This is the default choice for i386 compiler.

sse
Use scalar floating point instructions present in the SSE instruction set. This instruction set is supported by Pentium3 and newer chips, in the AMD line by Athlon-4, Athlon-xp and Athlon-mp chips. The earlier version of SSE instruction set supports only single precision arithmetics, thus the double and extended precision arithmetics is still done using 387. Later version, present only in Pentium4 and the future AMD x86-64 chips supports double precision arithmetics too.

For the i386 compiler, you need to use -march=cpu-type, -msse or -msse2 switches to enable SSE extensions and make this option effective. For the x86-64 compiler, these extensions are enabled by default.

The resulting code should be considerably faster in the majority of cases and avoid the numerical instability problems of 387 code, but may break some existing code that expects temporaries to be 80bit.

This is the default choice for the x86-64 compiler.

sse,387
sse+387
both
Attempt to utilize both instruction sets at once. This effectively double the amount of available registers and on chips with separate execution units for 387 and SSE the execution resources too. Use this option with care, as it is still experimental, because the GCC register allocator does not model separate functional units well resulting in instable performance.

-masm=dialect
Output asm instructions using selected dialect. Supported choices are intel or att (the default one). Darwin does not support intel.
-mieee-fp
-mno-ieee-fp
Control whether or not the compiler uses IEEE floating point comparisons. These handle correctly the case where the result of a comparison is unordered.
-msoft-float
Generate output containing library calls for floating point. Warning: the requisite libraries are not part of GCC. Normally the facilities of the machine's usual C compiler are used, but this can't be done directly in cross-compilation. You must make your own arrangements to provide suitable library functions for cross-compilation.

On machines where a function returns floating point results in the 80387 register stack, some floating point opcodes may be emitted even if -msoft-float is used.

-mno-fp-ret-in-387
Do not use the FPU registers for return values of functions.

The usual calling convention has functions return values of types float and double in an FPU register, even if there is no FPU. The idea is that the operating system should emulate an FPU.

The option -mno-fp-ret-in-387 causes such values to be returned in ordinary CPU registers instead.

-mno-fancy-math-387
Some 387 emulators do not support the sin, cos and sqrt instructions for the 387. Specify this option to avoid generating those instructions. This option is the default on FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD. This option is overridden when -march indicates that the target cpu will always have an FPU and so the instruction will not need emulation. As of revision 2.6.1, these instructions are not generated unless you also use the -funsafe-math-optimizations switch.
-malign-double
-mno-align-double
Control whether GCC aligns double, long double, and long long variables on a two word boundary or a one word boundary. Aligning double variables on a two word boundary will produce code that runs somewhat faster on a Pentium at the expense of more memory.

On x86-64, -malign-double is enabled by default.

Warning: if you use the -malign-double switch, structures containing the above types will be aligned differently than the published application binary interface specifications for the 386 and will not be binary compatible with structures in code compiled without that switch.

-m96bit-long-double
-m128bit-long-double
These switches control the size of long double type. The i386 application binary interface specifies the size to be 96 bits, so -m96bit-long-double is the default in 32 bit mode.

Modern architectures (Pentium and newer) would prefer long double to be aligned to an 8 or 16 byte boundary. In arrays or structures conforming to the ABI, this would not be possible. So specifying a -m128bit-long-double will align long double to a 16 byte boundary by padding the long double with an additional 32 bit zero.

In the x86-64 compiler, -m128bit-long-double is the default choice as its ABI specifies that long double is to be aligned on 16 byte boundary.

Notice that neither of these options enable any extra precision over the x87 standard of 80 bits for a long double.

Warning: if you override the default value for your target ABI, the structures and arrays containing long double variables will change their size as well as function calling convention for function taking long double will be modified. Hence they will not be binary compatible with arrays or structures in code compiled without that switch.

-mlarge-data-threshold=number
When -mcmodel=medium is specified, the data greater than threshold are placed in large data section. This value must be the same across all object linked into the binary and defaults to 65535.
-mrtd
Use a different function-calling convention, in which functions that take a fixed number of arguments return with the ret num instruction, which pops their arguments while returning. This saves one instruction in the caller since there is no need to pop the arguments there.

You can specify that an individual function is called with this calling sequence with the function attribute stdcall. You can also override the -mrtd option by using the function attribute cdecl. See Function Attributes.

Warning: this calling convention is incompatible with the one normally used on Unix, so you cannot use it if you need to call libraries compiled with the Unix compiler.

Also, you must provide function prototypes for all functions that take variable numbers of arguments (including printf); otherwise incorrect code will be generated for calls to those functions.

In addition, seriously incorrect code will result if you call a function with too many arguments. (Normally, extra arguments are harmlessly ignored.)

-mregparm=num
Control how many registers are used to pass integer arguments. By default, no registers are used to pass arguments, and at most 3 registers can be used. You can control this behavior for a specific function by using the function attribute regparm. See Function Attributes.

Warning: if you use this switch, and num is nonzero, then you must build all modules with the same value, including any libraries. This includes the system libraries and startup modules.

-msseregparm
Use SSE register passing conventions for float and double arguments and return values. You can control this behavior for a specific function by using the function attribute sseregparm. See Function Attributes.

Warning: if you use this switch then you must build all modules with the same value, including any libraries. This includes the system libraries and startup modules.

-mpc32
-mpc64
-mpc80
Set 80387 floating-point precision to 32, 64 or 80 bits. When -mpc32 is specified, the significands of results of floating-point operations are rounded to 24 bits (single precision); -mpc64 rounds the significands of results of floating-point operations to 53 bits (double precision) and -mpc80 rounds the significands of results of floating-point operations to 64 bits (extended double precision), which is the default. When this option is used, floating-point operations in higher precisions are not available to the programmer without setting the FPU control word explicitly.

Setting the rounding of floating-point operations to less than the default 80 bits can speed some programs by 2% or more. Note that some mathematical libraries assume that extended precision (80 bit) floating-point operations are enabled by default; routines in such libraries could suffer significant loss of accuracy, typically through so-called "catastrophic cancellation", when this option is used to set the precision to less than extended precision.

-mstackrealign
Realign the stack at entry. On the Intel x86, the -mstackrealign option will generate an alternate prologue and epilogue that realigns the runtime stack if necessary. This supports mixing legacy codes that keep a 4-byte aligned stack with modern codes that keep a 16-byte stack for SSE compatibility. See also the attribute force_align_arg_pointer, applicable to individual functions.
-mpreferred-stack-boundary=num
Attempt to keep the stack boundary aligned to a 2 raised to num byte boundary. If -mpreferred-stack-boundary is not specified, the default is 4 (16 bytes or 128 bits).
-mincoming-stack-boundary=num
Assume the incoming stack is aligned to a 2 raised to num byte boundary. If -mincoming-stack-boundary is not specified, the one specified by -mpreferred-stack-boundary will be used.

On Pentium and PentiumPro, double and long double values should be aligned to an 8 byte boundary (see -malign-double) or suffer significant run time performance penalties. On Pentium III, the Streaming SIMD Extension (SSE) data type __m128 may not work properly if it is not 16 byte aligned.

To ensure proper alignment of this values on the stack, the stack boundary must be as aligned as that required by any value stored on the stack. Further, every function must be generated such that it keeps the stack aligned. Thus calling a function compiled with a higher preferred stack boundary from a function compiled with a lower preferred stack boundary will most likely misalign the stack. It is recommended that libraries that use callbacks always use the default setting.

This extra alignment does consume extra stack space, and generally increases code size. Code that is sensitive to stack space usage, such as embedded systems and operating system kernels, may want to reduce the preferred alignment to -mpreferred-stack-boundary=2.

-mmmx
-mno-mmx
-msse
-mno-sse
-msse2
-mno-sse2
-msse3
-mno-sse3
-mssse3
-mno-ssse3
-msse4.1
-mno-sse4.1
-msse4.2
-mno-sse4.2
-msse4
-mno-sse4
-mavx
-mno-avx
-maes
-mno-aes
-mpclmul
-mno-pclmul
-msse4a
-mno-sse4a
-msse5
-mno-sse5
-m3dnow
-mno-3dnow
-mpopcnt
-mno-popcnt
-mabm
-mno-abm
These switches enable or disable the use of instructions in the MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4.1, AVX, AES, PCLMUL, SSE4A, SSE5, ABM or 3DNow! extended instruction sets. These extensions are also available as built-in functions: see X86 Built-in Functions, for details of the functions enabled and disabled by these switches.

To have SSE/SSE2 instructions generated automatically from floating-point code (as opposed to 387 instructions), see -mfpmath=sse.

GCC depresses SSEx instructions when -mavx is used. Instead, it generates new AVX instructions or AVX equivalence for all SSEx instructions when needed.

These options will enable GCC to use these extended instructions in generated code, even without -mfpmath=sse. Applications which perform runtime CPU detection must compile separate files for each supported architecture, using the appropriate flags. In particular, the file containing the CPU detection code should be compiled without these options.

-mcld
This option instructs GCC to emit a cld instruction in the prologue of functions that use string instructions. String instructions depend on the DF flag to select between autoincrement or autodecrement mode. While the ABI specifies the DF flag to be cleared on function entry, some operating systems violate this specification by not clearing the DF flag in their exception dispatchers. The exception handler can be invoked with the DF flag set which leads to wrong direction mode, when string instructions are used. This option can be enabled by default on 32-bit x86 targets by configuring GCC with the --enable-cld configure option. Generation of cld instructions can be suppressed with the -mno-cld compiler option in this case.
-mcx16
This option will enable GCC to use CMPXCHG16B instruction in generated code. CMPXCHG16B allows for atomic operations on 128-bit double quadword (or oword) data types. This is useful for high resolution counters that could be updated by multiple processors (or cores). This instruction is generated as part of atomic built-in functions: see Atomic Builtins for details.
-msahf
This option will enable GCC to use SAHF instruction in generated 64-bit code. Early Intel CPUs with Intel 64 lacked LAHF and SAHF instructions supported by AMD64 until introduction of Pentium 4 G1 step in December 2005. LAHF and SAHF are load and store instructions, respectively, for certain status flags. In 64-bit mode, SAHF instruction is used to optimize fmod, drem or remainder built-in functions: see Other Builtins for details.
-mrecip
This option will enable GCC to use RCPSS and RSQRTSS instructions (and their vectorized variants RCPPS and RSQRTPS) with an additional Newton-Raphson step to increase precision instead of DIVSS and SQRTSS (and their vectorized variants) for single precision floating point arguments. These instructions are generated only when -funsafe-math-optimizations is enabled together with -finite-math-only and -fno-trapping-math. Note that while the throughput of the sequence is higher than the throughput of the non-reciprocal instruction, the precision of the sequence can be decreased by up to 2 ulp (i.e. the inverse of 1.0 equals 0.99999994).
-mveclibabi=type
Specifies the ABI type to use for vectorizing intrinsics using an external library. Supported types are svml for the Intel short vector math library and acml for the AMD math core library style of interfacing. GCC will currently emit calls to vmldExp2, vmldLn2, vmldLog102, vmldLog102, vmldPow2, vmldTanh2, vmldTan2, vmldAtan2, vmldAtanh2, vmldCbrt2, vmldSinh2, vmldSin2, vmldAsinh2, vmldAsin2, vmldCosh2, vmldCos2, vmldAcosh2, vmldAcos2, vmlsExp4, vmlsLn4, vmlsLog104, vmlsLog104, vmlsPow4, vmlsTanh4, vmlsTan4, vmlsAtan4, vmlsAtanh4, vmlsCbrt4, vmlsSinh4, vmlsSin4, vmlsAsinh4, vmlsAsin4, vmlsCosh4, vmlsCos4, vmlsAcosh4 and vmlsAcos4 for corresponding function type when -mveclibabi=svml is used and __vrd2_sin, __vrd2_cos, __vrd2_exp, __vrd2_log, __vrd2_log2, __vrd2_log10, __vrs4_sinf, __vrs4_cosf, __vrs4_expf, __vrs4_logf, __vrs4_log2f, __vrs4_log10f and __vrs4_powf for corresponding function type when -mveclibabi=acml is used. Both -ftree-vectorize and -funsafe-math-optimizations have to be enabled. A SVML or ACML ABI compatible library will have to be specified at link time.
-mpush-args
-mno-push-args
Use PUSH operations to store outgoing parameters. This method is shorter and usually equally fast as method using SUB/MOV operations and is enabled by default. In some cases disabling it may improve performance because of improved scheduling and reduced dependencies.
-maccumulate-outgoing-args
If enabled, the maximum amount of space required for outgoing arguments will be computed in the function prologue. This is faster on most modern CPUs because of reduced dependencies, improved scheduling and reduced stack usage when preferred stack boundary is not equal to 2. The drawback is a notable increase in code size. This switch implies -mno-push-args.
-mthreads
Support thread-safe exception handling on Mingw32. Code that relies on thread-safe exception handling must compile and link all code with the -mthreads option. When compiling, -mthreads defines -D_MT; when linking, it links in a special thread helper library -lmingwthrd which cleans up per thread exception handling data.
-mno-align-stringops
Do not align destination of inlined string operations. This switch reduces code size and improves performance in case the destination is already aligned, but GCC doesn't know about it.
-minline-all-stringops
By default GCC inlines string operations only when destination is known to be aligned at least to 4 byte boundary. This enables more inlining, increase code size, but may improve performance of code that depends on fast memcpy, strlen and memset for short lengths.
-minline-stringops-dynamically
For string operation of unknown size, inline runtime checks so for small blocks inline code is used, while for large blocks library call is used.
-mstringop-strategy=alg
Overwrite internal decision heuristic about particular algorithm to inline string operation with. The allowed values are rep_byte, rep_4byte, rep_8byte for expanding using i386 rep prefix of specified size, byte_loop, loop, unrolled_loop for expanding inline loop, libcall for always expanding library call.
-momit-leaf-frame-pointer
Don't keep the frame pointer in a register for leaf functions. This avoids the instructions to save, set up and restore frame pointers and makes an extra register available in leaf functions. The option -fomit-frame-pointer removes the frame pointer for all functions which might make debugging harder.
-mtls-direct-seg-refs
-mno-tls-direct-seg-refs
Controls whether TLS variables may be accessed with offsets from the TLS segment register (%gs for 32-bit, %fs for 64-bit), or whether the thread base pointer must be added. Whether or not this is legal depends on the operating system, and whether it maps the segment to cover the entire TLS area.

For systems that use GNU libc, the default is on.

-mfused-madd
-mno-fused-madd
Enable automatic generation of fused floating point multiply-add instructions if the ISA supports such instructions. The -mfused-madd option is on by default. The fused multiply-add instructions have a different rounding behavior compared to executing a multiply followed by an add.
-msse2avx
-mno-sse2avx
Specify that the assembler should encode SSE instructions with VEX prefix. The option -mavx turns this on by default.

These -m switches are supported in addition to the above on AMD x86-64 processors in 64-bit environments.

-m32
-m64
Generate code for a 32-bit or 64-bit environment. The 32-bit environment sets int, long and pointer to 32 bits and generates code that runs on any i386 system. The 64-bit environment sets int to 32 bits and long and pointer to 64 bits and generates code for AMD's x86-64 architecture. For darwin only the -m64 option turns off the -fno-pic and -mdynamic-no-pic options.
-mno-red-zone
Do not use a so called red zone for x86-64 code. The red zone is mandated by the x86-64 ABI, it is a 128-byte area beyond the location of the stack pointer that will not be modified by signal or interrupt handlers and therefore can be used for temporary data without adjusting the stack pointer. The flag -mno-red-zone disables this red zone.
-mcmodel=small
Generate code for the small code model: the program and its symbols must be linked in the lower 2 GB of the address space. Pointers are 64 bits. Programs can be statically or dynamically linked. This is the default code model.
-mcmodel=kernel
Generate code for the kernel code model. The kernel runs in the negative 2 GB of the address space. This model has to be used for Linux kernel code.
-mcmodel=medium
Generate code for the medium model: The program is linked in the lower 2 GB of the address space. Small symbols are also placed there. Symbols with sizes larger than -mlarge-data-threshold are put into large data or bss sections and can be located above 2GB. Programs can be statically or dynamically linked.
-mcmodel=large
Generate code for the large model: This model makes no assumptions about addresses and sizes of sections.