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The machine in question is a mid-2010 Macbook Pro w/ the Intel Core 2 Duo (P8600 2.4GHz).

I'm not entirely clear on whether or not the memory compression feature in OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) and beyond takes advantage of compression instruction sets in the newer Intel processors. That being said, is it implemented completely in software and would work on all Apple hardware capable of running 10.9 and beyond, regardless of processor, or does it require a more modern processor with these instructions that speed-up the compression? An example of a compatibility issue with processors is the AESNI instruction set in the newer Intel architecture that greatly speeds up AES and hashing routines, but is unavailable in a lot of AMD processors and the Intel Core Duo series.

Any information that can shed light on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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It is implemented completely in software, yes (for any meaningful definition of this). Obviously you will need a physical CPU to run the code in practice.

The feature does not require the AESNI instruction set. It only requires a x86_64 CPU (i.e. 64-bit CPU) which is anyways already a requirement for running Mavericks.

You can find the source code for the compression algorithm here:

https://github.com/aosm/xnu/blob/9653931b282e653805655cc56831195d0fb162aa/osfmk/x86_64/WKdmCompress_new.s

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