Craig Barrett from Intel said today that the next generation of Xeon processors would have the extensions that would permit developers to build 64-bit applications on Intel's 32-bit Xeon processors. Those applications would then be able to work with Intel's 64-bit. Both Intel and Microsoft will provide support for these 64-bit extensions in Intel's 32-bit Xeon processors as early as next quarter.
Intel executives previously have said that the performance of 32-bit applications on Itanium processors would begin to match or better performance on Xeon as early as next year. The 64-bit extensions for new Xeon processors would, ostensibly, give developers lead time in porting software from one platform to the next. Earlier this year, Intel released 32-bit emulation capability for its Itanium 2 platform.
The extensions, which Intel developed with Microsoft, would provide similar functionality to Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron chips, which began shipping last April. Intel first began shipping its Itanium processors three years ago.
Barrett, in his speech, said Intel had passed the point of shipping technology into a market that wasn't ready for it as a whole.
"The silicon has to be there, the designs have to be there, the operating systems and the tools have to be there, the compilers, the performance tools have to be there, the applications have to be there and the entire ecosystem of customer demand has to be there," Barrett said. "Today, when you introduce new technology, it's very, very important the whole system is ready for it."
Speaking to the Intel Developer Forum via video, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said his company was "super excited" about the development, adding the software giant had already shipped to nearly 5,000 developers "the latest build of Windows that include the extensions that are compatible with Xeon."
Apart from this the next-gen Xeon also has the Prescott New Instructions and an 800MHz FSB, on PCI Express compatible motherboards. Intel his 64-bit technology is codenamed CT (Clackamas Technology), and NVIDIA refers to it in their presentation as "IA32E Extended Technology".