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Intel makes its 64-bit splash

The chipmaker releases a new line of 64-bit processors and says it's planning dual-core products for next year. Microsoft calls Intel's releases a "turbo charger" for its own 64-bit offerings.

Intel Corp. added itself to the list of vendors touting 64-bit products this year with its announcement on Tuesday...

of a

Today, we're only sort of scratching the surface and discovering the first applications that can apply [64-bit computing].

Steve Kleynhans, analyst, Meta Group

new line of 64-bit processors and a dual-core chipset.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel announced five processors in its 64-bit Intel Xeon processor MP platform. Three have an 8 MB L3 cache and two offer a 1 MB L1 cache.

The Intel E8500 chipset has a 667 MHz dual, independent front-side bus and is designed with 10.6 GB of system bandwidth, laying the infrastructure groundwork for the release of dual-core Intel Xeon processors MP in 2006. The MP refers to multiprocessor.

IBM, Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. already offer the 64-bit Intel Xeon processors in their latest generations of servers, and Microsoft is following suit with a host of 64-bit software products.

Several versions of 64-bit Windows on the way

At next month's WinHEC conference in Seattle, Microsoft is expected to announce a 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003, and 64-bit capabilities can be expected in products like Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM), Exchange 12, the much-anticipated Longhorn client

For more information

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Advice: 64-bit Windows -- when and why to use it

and Virtual Server version 2.

Andy Lees, corporate vice president of server and tools marketing and solutions, said Intel's chip innovations would act as a "turbo charger" to bring higher-speed computing into the enterprise data center, and Microsoft shops will be along for the ride.

Steve Kleynhans, an analyst with Meta Group, in Stamford, Conn., said 64-bit computing will not have an immediate impact on the IT community, but will evolve over the next few years as companies develop enterprise applications.

"It will have an impact on the server side because it allows me to scale my servers in new ways that I couldn't before," Kleynhans said. "Today, we're only sort of scratching the surface and discovering the first applications that can apply it. It's an enabling technology. It will come down to how creative organizations -- and how the software manufacturers -- become in finding new ways to leverage them."

Intel also announced the creation of the Intel Software Network, through which it intends to provide development tools, training and advice for building applications for 64-bit and multicore processor architectures.

"It's one of those things where it's interesting, but it's not going to change your life tomorrow," Kleynhans said. "It's a natural progression. It's about building an ecosystem so that software developers can start leveraging it."

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