Compatibility crossfire

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2005-03-21 Print this article Print

Attendees wondered if they would be caught in a compatibility crossfire between Intel and AMD, asking what kind of cooperation they could hope to see between the latters AMD64 and the formers largely imitative (and less throughput-optimized) EM64T (Extended Memory 64 Technology) architecture. So far, it appears safe to say that 64-bit Windows software will run on both—because Microsoft has told Intel, in public, that AMD got there first and that Intel had better be compatible.

The incompatibilities that will exist between EM64T and AMD64, so far as eWEEK Labs can determine, will be similar to those between a Pentium III/4 and an Athlon XP.
For example, it seems likely that the rival CPU families will continue to use some different three-dimensional graphics extensions.

Other attendee questions concerning computing/TV convergence might presage a fundamental change in the PC business. Click here to read more about Microsofts plans for 64-bit versions of its Windows client and server. The home media server, wirelessly serving portable terminals throughout the house, starts to look both plausible and attractive when that shared device can virtualize multiple Windows or Linux sessions—while it also demodulates and delivers HDTV content via digital-wireless links to portable flat-panel displays.

What else will users do with 64-bit power? As 15 percent of the attendees replied to that poll question, "Something I wont know I want until I see it."

Technology Editor Peter Coffee can be reached at

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developersÔÇÖ technical requirements on the companyÔÇÖs evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter companyÔÇÖs first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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