Microsoft has released the beta for its 64-bit version of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 for AMD's forthcoming Opteron and Athlon64 processors.
Beta availability of the 64-bit desktop operating system was designed to complement AMD’s launch of its long-awaited Athlon64 processor (AMD64).
Operating system support from Microsoft is seen within the industry as a key component for the success of AMD's 64-bit chip.
The Athlon64 can run both 64-bit and 32-bit applications on a PC with a 64-bit operating system, and with the Microsoft’s Windows on Windows 64 (WOW64) emulation technology, customers can run existing 32-bit applications on the 64-bit operating system, all without a reduction in performance speeds.
Customers investing in 64-bit technology do not have to worry about losing the use of existing applications, while at the same time opening the door to future upgrades as 64-bit applications become available, Microsoft said.
Final releases of both the Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems and Windows Server 2003 for 64-Bit Extended Systems are scheduled for the first half of 2004.
Microsoft is aiming the Windows platform at gamers, promising advanced gaming, digital content creation and video editing all within a "cinematic computing PC experience".
The Windows and AMD64 platform will also bring increased speed and efficiency to online transaction processing, data warehousing, financial services and computer-aided design along with engineering and scientific projects.
Laura Rohde writes for IDG News Service