Many microprocessor instruction sets include instructions for accelerating multimedia applications such as DVD playback, speech recognition and 3D graphics. Despite general agreement on the need to support this emerging workload, there are considerable differences between the instruction sets that have been designed to do so. In this paper we study the performance of five instruction sets on kernels extracted from a broad multimedia workload. Each kernel was recoded in the assembly language of the five multimedia extensions. We compare the performance of each extension against other architectures as well as to the original compiled C performance. From our analysis we determine how well multimedia workloads map to current architectures, what was useful and what was not. We also propose two enhancements to current architectures: strided memory operations, and superwide registers.