Intel CTO: Desktop Isnt Ready for 64 Bits

As Pat Gelsinger predicted Intel won't release a 64-bit desktop chip until 2006 or 2007, AMD executives gathered near the Intel Developer Forum to stump for the forthcoming Athlon 64.

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Sixty-four bit computing wont be needed on desktop PCs for several more years, according to Pat Gelsinger, chief technology officer at Intel Corp.

In a day devoted to the discussion of Intels research technologies before the companys Intel Developer Forum begins here Tuesday, Gelsinger was asked how quickly he envisioned 64-bit computing arriving on the desktop PC.

"In terms of the general market need, you dont need it for several more years," Gelsinger said, specifying that he envisioned Intel bringing the technology to market around 2006 or 2007.

Gelsinger said the advantage of 64-bit computing lies in the processors ability to address more than 4GB of memory, the limit of 32-bit machines.

Executives of competing Advanced Micro Devices Inc. gathered near the IDF to brief reporters about the Sept. 23 launch of the Athlon 64, AMDs own 64-bit chip for PCs. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD launched its 64-bit Opteron chip for the server market earlier this year.

"The latest games and video-editing software need the extra capability of [64-bit processing] today," said Mark deFrere, brand manager for the Athlon 64. "On Sept. 23, AMD intends to prove we can offer real benefits to real customers today."

At one point, Intel was rumored to be working on a project called "Yamhill" that was intended add 64-bit capabilities to a 32-bit desktop processor similar to AMDs Athlon 64 design. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel has not commented on such a project, however.

Users of AMDs Athlon 64 will be able to run Linux as well as a version of Microsoft Corp.s Windows XP software that has already been provided in beta form to developers. Epic Softwares Unreal Tournament games will also be patched to allow them to run using the 64-bit capabilities of the Athlon 64, the company has announced.

On the Mac side of the platform divide, Apple Computer Inc. of Cupertino, Calif. in June announced a line of Mac OS X systems based on IBM Corp.s 64-bit PowerPC 970, dubbed the "G5" by Apple. The systems began shipping in quantity in August.

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