The lowdown on 64-bit processors

What is 64-bit computing? A 64-bit processor has a word size of 64 bits, a requirement for advanced scientific and business applications. It handles twice as many bits of information in the same clock cycle as a 32-bit processor.

What are Opteron and Itanium 2? They are 64-bit processors developed recently by AMD and Intel, respectively. While they are both 64-bit, they have significantly different architectures. Both will perform most high-end computing tasks well and are looked upon by the industry as cost-effective replacements for 64-bit RISC processors.

Which is best for my requirements? That depends. A careful analysis of your current and anticipated computing tasks is required before you decide which route to take. Take a look at how leading server manufacturers are positioning their product lines behind the two options before settling on one or the other.

Must-know info? 64-bit computing is the wave of the future, at least for the next decade or so. The processors are steadily being moved into desktop and workstation devices as well as servers. Operating system and applications developers are busy writing code for 64-bit computing. Both AMD and Intel have well-developed road maps for Opteron and Itanium 2, at least for the next five years.

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