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According to a research firm American Technology Research quoted by Briefing.com, Intel will shortly unveil its x86 chip containing certain 64-bit enhancements. However, the x86-64 technology will not be widely available from Intel till 2005.

American Technology Research believes it is likely that Intel Corporation will unveil a 64-bit x86 chip in Q1 or Q2 of 2004, which would be a huge endorsement of 64-bit computing; however, the firm says “it will take Intel close to one full year to build a support infrastructure of mainboards, chipsets, and graphics accelerators, leaving the 2004 playing field wide” for Advanced Micro Devices who already has its 64-bit chips rapidly ramping up in production.

In late October this year X-bit labs’ sources whishing to remain anonymous said Intel’s next-generation NetBurst CPUs code-named Prescott have 64-bit extensions. Nevertheless, these extensions will not be enabled right in the first flavours of Intel Pentium 4 SSE3 microprocessors.

Intel’s top managers have been considering the enablement of the 64-bit extensions in Prescott and Tejas processors for some time now, but no final decisions have been made. What we know for sure is that Intel is not likely to turn on additional functionality of the Prescott processor until 2005, probably when AMD’s 64-bit processors become more or less wide-spread on the market and may affect Intel’s sales. In early 2005 Intel is set to launch its code-named Tejas CPUs.

According to our information, the extensions may be a part of the well-known Yamhill project and will not be compatible with AMD’s 64-bit extensions available now in AMD Opteron and Athlon 64 processors. One of the first products to sport Intel’s own 64-bit extensions to IA32 may be Intel’s next-generation Xeon MP processor code-named Potomac, another source suggests.

Microsoft in mid-October postponed the release of its Windows Server 2003 edition with support for “64-Bit Extended Systems”, i.e. AMD’s x86-64 technology, till the second half of next year. This may effectively mean that certain customers may not consider availability of 64-bit enhancements in AMD Opteron and Athlon 64 in 1H 2004.

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