Bridging the Gap

By Michael R. Zimmerman  |  Posted 2003-04-22 Print this article Print

AMD is promoting its 64-bit Hammer architecture—now named AMD64, and which will include the Athlon 64 chip for desktops and mobile devices when it launches in September—as the bridge between x86 32-bit and 64-bit computing. The chips will run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications, giving enterprises a cost-effective way to migrate from one to the other, Ruiz said. Enterprises will not have to dump their 32-bit applications as they begin their move to 64-bit computing, he said. "With todays announcement, youre being given a view of the future," Ruiz told an audience of more than 200. He called Opteron "a new class of technology that leaves no one behind."
Sanders said Opteron "will bring PC economics" into the server world. It will provide "a seamless, simplified migration path to 64-bit computing."
Initially, Opteron will compete primarily with Intels 32-bit Xeon architecture. But the differentiator will be with Itanium, which is a new architecture optimized for 64-bit applications. Enterprises using Itanium need to rework their applications to take full advantage of Itanium. Opteron, manufactured via the 0.13-micron process, includes 100 million transistors and up to three links for HyperTransport connectivity. Athlon 64 will provide one link. Opteron also features up to 1MB of Level 2 cache. AMD officials said the prices for the chips will be about the same as those of the 32-bit Xeons, but also will give users 64-bit capabilities. On the hardware side, Sun and Dell officials have said they are evaluating Opteron; HP—a co-developer of Itanium—said it firmly supports that architecture.


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