AMD launches Athlon 64; its first 64-bit chip for mainstream PCs

“Advanced Micro Devices launches its next-generation processor for desktop computers today, its first 64-bit chip for mainstream PCs,” Therese Poletti reports for The Mercury News. “But Sunnyvale-based AMD won’t be able to deliver on the promise of 64-bit computing just yet. Until Microsoft launches its 64-bit version of Windows for the chip, called the Athlon 64, it will look, act and feel like a 32-bit processor, running standard desktop applications, but with better performance than the fastest Athlon XP for the desktop.”

“‘If AMD’s mantra is to bring 64-bit computing to the masses, they won’t be able to do that on Sept. 23,’ said Ashok Kumar, an analyst with U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. For now, Intel plans to head off the Athlon 64 chip with a new chip aimed at the video game market, called the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, which it announced last week at IDF. The video game market is expected to be the first that will truly take advantage of the 64-bit capability, once it is available, on the desktop,” Poletti reports. “‘We’re not saying it’s going to happen right away, but it’s time to go there,’ said Fred Weber, vice president and chief technology officer at AMD, adding that Apple Computer’s new G5 Power Mac is also a 64-bit processor.”

“AMD expects that by 2005 or 2006, 64 bits will start to pervasive on the desktop. Microsoft is expected to have its version of Windows to run on the Athlon 64 in the first half of next year,” Poletti reports. “Linux will be available at launch and PCs are expected to be available with 512 megabytes and 1 gigabyte of memory, even though an Athlon 64 could support a PC with 2 to 3 gigabytes of memory. PCs equipped with Athlon 64s are expected to start at about $1,500 to $2,000.”

Full article here.


  1. If the PowerPC 970 never existed. Then maybe Apple could’ve (or should’ve) went with Athlon64. Though that would have been another painful transition.

    PowerPC is dead, long live the PowerPC ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  2. The only thing keeping PCs limited to 4 gigs of RAM now are the laws of physics (which won’t allow unlimited slots for RAM on the board) and memory being avaliable at 2 GB max per stick. Usually you can only use 2 banks (1 stick) of DDR 333/400 while you can use 4 banks of DDR 266 or 6/8 banks of DDR 200.

    AMD’s 64 bit architecture uses a 40 bit physical adress space and 48 bit virtual address space, that’s 1 terabyte and 256 terabytes respectively. I suspect by “pc’s avaliable at launch” they mean from system builders and not the DIY market.

  3. DOH!!!

    Courtesy: IDG News Service

    TAIPEI– If you’re looking to buy a PC based on Advanced Micro Devices’ 64-bit Athlon 64 processor you may have to wait. Despite a high-profile launch Tuesday, the processor is in short supply and volume shipments of PCs based on the chip are not expected until next year, according to companies at the Computex exhibition here.

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