64-bit technology recently got a boost with Microsoft and Intel demonstrating the 64-bit Windows operating system running on Intel's prototype Merced processor at Intel's Developer Forum.
The two giants of the industry are intent on developing IA-64 archi-tecture solutions in order to cash in on the Internet economy, data mining, memory-intensive high-end graphics, complex mathematics and high-performance multimedia applications.
"64-bit Windows running on our first IA-64 processor, Merced, will provide a solid foundation for e-business applications when the Merced processor moves into production next year," said Albert Yu, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's microprocessor product group.
Microsoft is covering all bases and has guaranteed the 64-bit operating system will remain compatible with current 32-bit applications.
However, Microsoft is encouraging customers to migrate to the new architecture and is offering 64-bit Windows and Intel's IA-64 architecture through its Windows 2000 Software Developer Kit (SDK) and Windows 2000 Device Driver Kit (DDK).
Microsoft assured punters that Windows 2000 will be available in the first half of next year and expects the next stage, the release of 64-bit Windows production developer tools and BackOffice family applications with commercial Merced systems, to be available later next year.
According to Christanto Suryadarma, Intel's architecture manager for Australia, Intel is also working on solutions with other vendors such as Sun and Novell and is planning to port its 64-bit architecture to Linux and Unix platforms by mid next year.
It was recently reported in The Australian that Hewlett-Packard had recommended its clients move directly onto the next-generation processor, the McKinley, and skip the Merced. However, according to Suryadarma, HP recanted claims that it thought its PA-RISC 8500 processor would be on par with the Merced by the time it was released next year, and is now supporting the Intel processor.
"This is much more advanced than current risc architecture because it makes software run parallel in the processor," explained Suryadarma.
He said the McKinley will be released 12 months after Merced and will double the efficiency and speed.