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Wed 16 Oct 2002 04:00 AM

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64-bit architecture reaches for the sky

Sky Electronics is showcasing nothing less than AMD’s 64-bit Opteron processor (codenamed hammer) on its stand at Gitex.

Sky Electronics is showcasing nothing less than AMD’s 64-bit Opteron processor (codenamed hammer) on its stand at Gitex. The company sells Fujitsu-Siemens and AOpen products based on AMD’s Athlon and Duron range, but Gitex is the first appearance of a Hammer architecture processor in the Middle East.AMD has designed the processor to be backwards compatible with 32-bit applications, unlike Intel’s Itanium 64-bit processor. As Manoj Thacker, managing director of Sky Electronics, explains: “Computer systems based on AMD 64-bit processors will be able to run present 32-bit applications (at the maximum capacity) and also new 64-bit applications (also at the highest possible performance). "The big advantage to customers will be that they do not have to discard their 32-bit software and hardware. [Consumers and companies] will be able to use their present 32-bit systems and only upgrade those departments that would benefit from 64-bit technology.”AMD believes that lack of application development is one of the reasons that Itanium has failed to sell in the volumes hoped for, and that not having to junk 32-bit applications will be a big selling point for Hammer processor-based systems. AMD is claiming widespread industry support for the Hammer platform — due for launch at the end of Q2 2003 — including from IBM’s DB2 database and Red Hat Linux Advanced Server.There has also been a leaked email on theinquirer.net suggesting that senior executives at Microsoft have seen demonstrations of the AMD 64-bit processor and were impressed. It reads in part: “The hardware system is unbelievably solid for a chip that just popped out of the oven here one month ago!” However, the email’s veracity has not been proved.

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