Getting an Unsupported CPU error message saying the CPU does not have POPCNT! on launching Apex Legends? Well, you are not alone. This is one of the most commonly experienced issues among budget gamers especially those who use PC with old hardware.
Apex Legends is one of the most widely played games that have a special corner in the heart of gamers. Launched back in Feb 2019, the game has definitely got an impressive amount of popularity and currently, there are over 100 million players. But it seems like this number could have been even bigger if there were no game issues like the Unsupported CPU one, saying the CPU does not have POPCNT.
If you are one of those Apex Legends fans who is getting this error on starting up the game, then this fixing guide will get you covered. Here I am going to discuss the Apex Legends’ CPU does not have POPCNT error. Along with that, here you will also get possible fixes to the issue.
What does the Unsupported CPU error mean in Apex Legends?
This should be pretty clear by now to the users that the error is related to the CPU as the error message window clearly mention Unsupported CPU. This error occurs in the PCs that use old gen CPUs and the chances of this error increase if the old CPU belongs to Intel.
If your PC is having an old Intel CPU that has not been built with the SSE4 instructions set, there is a very high chance that the unsupported CPU error message will pop up. SSE4 refers to Streaming SIMD Extensions 4.
Here, the SIMD stands for Single Input, Multiple Data which is a CPU instruction set used in the Intel Core microarchitecture. Apart from Intel, if there is an AMD CPU with AMD K10 (K8L) microarchitecture, you will again be a victim of the unsupported CPU error on Apex Legend.
What is POPCNT?
Since the message is saying that your CPU doesn’t have POPCNT, that means your CPU is something that is called POPCNT. But what exactly POPCNT is and why is it not present in your CPU? Let’s understand.
As per what Wikipedia says, POPCNT actually refers to population count, and in the digital world, it is used to count the number of bits set of 1 or you can say the population count of 1’s. Intel started implementing the POPCNT instruction from their CPUs having Nehalem microarchitecture in 2008 whereas AMD started it with the Barcelona microarchitecture in 2007.
Fix the ‘CPU does not have POPCNT’ error in Apex Legends
It should be very clear from now on that this error is popping up because of the incompatibility of the CPU that you are using on your PC. The CPU that you are using is not the latest enough to have the POPCNT instruction implemented in the microarchitecture.
But is there a way to make the Apex Legend work even if the CPU is old?
Please don’t use POPCNT Emulator or the Intel SDE
Well, the ultimate answer is no. Even though there are things like POPCNT Emulator and Intel SDE to emulate the POPCNT instruction or the entire Nehalem microarchitecture. Both these ways will definitely make the POPCNT available for the game to run. But there is a very important thing that you must consider.
And that is the Anti-cheat Engine of the Apex Legends. Whenever you will try to use POPCNT Emulator or the Intel SDE, they will be altering the Apex Legends’ game files, which will activate the anti-cheat engine of the game, and will most probably ban you from the game.
Apart from this, there is a Redditian by the name Ogurets, suggesting that using a sophisticated loader can solve the issue of anti-cheat interruption. It starts the emulator in debug mode, circumvents all attempts to detect the emulator (anti-debugging technologies) as well as patches the game in real time and in memory.
But this shall have to be done by the user every time a new update or patch of the game is installed. And this is also not very feasible to perform all these deeply technical things for every Apex Legends user.
What’s the solution then?
The only solution that is concrete and working is upgrading the CPU. Yes, there is no other reliable solution other than going with a CPU newer in the generation. As per the minimum requirements of Apex Legends, it asks for:
- OS: 64-bit Windows 7
- CPU: Intel Core i3-6300 3.8GHz / AMD FX-4350 4.2 GHz Quad-Core Processor
- RAM: 6GB
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 / Radeon HD 7700
- GPU RAM: 1 GB
- HARD DRIVE: Minimum 30 GB of free space
Hence, you must at least go for an Intel Core i3-6300 or the AMD FX-4350 CPU in order to get rid of the POPCNT error.
If I sum up the whole story, the only solid solution to the “CPU does not have POPCNT” error is to upgrade the CPU. Trying the 3rd party fixes on the older CPU to get it run somehow will for sure get you a very unplayable gaming performance with a high chance of getting banned for no actual use of cheats or hacks.
I have seen a couple of fixing guides that have recommended that readers use the POPCNT or Intel SDE but believe me, they are nowhere near a working and concrete solution to this issue.