RealTime IT News

Microsoft Launching 64-Bit XP, Server 2003

Microsoft is releasing 64-bit systems for Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP today as it launches its Microsoft Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2005.

During a launch event with AMD last Thursday in New York, Harry Patz, Microsoft's general manager for the company's North America communications sector, said the launch of Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions in conjunction with AMD's processors are the result of a partnership AMD and Microsoft struck in April 2003.

"We believe people are ready," he said. Microsoft has worked closely with AMD in order to enable customers to run 32-bit and 64-bit applications without sacrificing reliability, scalability and, most importantly, security, he added.

"The advent of multi-core computing will change our lives in ways we cannot yet fathom," Patz said. "The key to success with this combination is to give customers the ability to get more out of 32-bit and 64-bit computing."

The launch comes after AMD's debut last week of its Opteron dual-core x86 64-bit chip for servers and workstations. As previously reported by internetnews.com, the chipmaker also announced an upcoming dual-core Athlon 64 processor made for desktop PCs, which AMD is calling the X2. AMD said it also plans to introduce a dual-core version of its Athlon FX processor when multithreaded software games become more the rule than the exception.

Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect, is expected to make the announcement today in a keynote speech at WinHEC. At the event, he's also expected to demonstrate 64-bit computing on the next version of the Windows upcoming operating system, code named Longhorn.

Operating system support for 64-bit computing is the subject of some interest for businesses. By doubling the amount of bits transmitted in most of today's 32-bit operating systems, companies can reap faster returns on computation-intense applications like databases and graphics design. Also, companies using 64-bit enabled servers can cut down on their hardware costs because more simultaneous users are supported.

Microsoft joins AMD partners such as IBM , HP , and Sun Microsystems , who announced last week they are supporting AMD's choice to ship its 800-series Opteron chips first and then its 200-series and eventually its 100-series processors. The decision lets the vendors entice enterprise customers with blade servers, workstations and 4-way servers right from the start.

Businesses keen on 64-bit computing for their systems will need to pick up the new XP and Server 2003 now rather than wait for Longhorn. According to officials, the operating system isn't expected until December 2006.

The launch of 64-bit computing on the Windows platform is a long time in the making. Windows XP for the 64-bit set was originally launched as a beta product back in September 2003 but met with delays, and was only available on the AMD chipset.

Today's launch is expected to include support on Intel's Pentium chips as well, after the company spent years saying 64-bit computing was best left to its high-end Itanium systems.