Intel announced at its Professional Developer's Conference in California plans to ship manufacturing samples of its 64-bit Merced processor in mid-1999, with the production version following in mid-2000.
The company also announced that using a PC running the Merced simulator it successfully booted seven different operating systems, including Microsoft's forthcoming Win64, Sun's Solaris, SCO's UnixWare Monterey, Novell's Modesto, and Hewlett-Packard's HP-UX. Intel also plans to fully support a 64-bit version of Linux.
At the developer's conference, a Microsoft executive said the 64-bit version of Windows, referred to as Win64, is under development for both Intel's IA-64 processor and Compaq's Alpha chip. Win64 for the Intel platform will ship when systems based on the Merced chip are released, and will be compatible with 32-bit Windows applications, according to Oscar Newkerk, technical evangelist at Microsoft's Developer Relations Group.
Despite a great deal of talk within the industry about the need for next-generation I/O technology to support 1GHz processing, Merced's chip set - the 82460GX - will be PCI-based and run at only 66MHz, Intel said. But the chip set will be I/O upgradeable when Intel's next-generation I/O becomes available in 2002, officials said.
By 2001, other Intel 64-bit processors - such as McKinley which is the follow up to Merced and is slated to ship in late 2001 - should perform faster than 1GHz, officials said.