According to C|Net a version of Windows optimized for the Athlon 64 will come in the first quarter of 2004. Marty Seyer, vice president and general manager of AMD’s microprocessor business unit, said this in an interview last week. The Athlon 64 is an upcoming CPU from AMD which is able to run 32 bit and 64 bit code.
The beta version of the operating system will become available in "late Q3," he added. That's slightly later than the midyear release of the beta Microsoft had promised earlier, but the estimated release schedule of the final version conforms to the expectations of most analysts.
Why you would need a 64 bit CPU? :
The Athlon 64 can run both 32-bit software, the kind found on most desktops today, and 64-bit software, which is found mainly on high-end Unix machines. The big advantage to computing in 64-bit mode is that the computer can handle more than 4GB of memory, the limit on 32-bit computers. Increasing the amount of memory in a computer increases performance because more data can be kept "close" to the processor, rather than on the hard drive.
Few people need this sort of capability now, AMD executives admit. Only about 20 percent of server applications and around 5 percent of notebook and desktop applications could take tangible advantage of this memory capacity, Seyer said. As a result, a lot of people will use Athlon 64 machines to run 32-bit Windows code.
Nonetheless, AMD is betting that techno lust, especially among computing enthusiasts, will drive demand for computers with the additional 64-bit capabilities. In workstations and PCs, 64-bit hardware and software leads to better graphics and game performance because complex, changing 3D backgrounds and large chunks of video can be kept in memory. Intel's Pentium chips don't work in 64-bit mode.
"64-bit is a big deal for video," said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.
Also some news from the gaming world :
Game developers will also be coming out with software tweaked for the chip. Epic Games, for example, will come out with a patch for the 32-bit version of "Unreal Tournament 2003" that will allow the game to take full advantage of the processor's 64-bit capabilities.
"It is all 100 percent 64-bit code," said Tim Sweeney, Epic's founder.
And some news about an upcoming game from Epic Games with photorealistic textures :
Developers will also have to tweak their products. Epic's first game designed specifically for 64-bit desktop computing won't come out for nearly two years, Sweeney said. It's a brand new game, he added, not another version of "Unreal Tournament," that will feature photorealistic textures.