Intel playing catch-up with AMD, Apple, IBM in 64-bit CPU arena

“Intel doesn’t eat crow very often. But when customers tell the company things it doesn’t want to hear, it listens,” Dan Gillmor writes for The Mercury News. “At a conference Tuesday in San Francisco, the chip maker’s chief executive, Craig Barrett, said Intel will add 64-bit capabilities to versions of its 32-bit Xeon and Pentium 4 processors. It was a smart bit of backpedaling, and fixes a miscue.”

“Intel let its chief Silicon Valley competitor, Advanced Micro Devices, take a big lead in a key market. Now Intel is sensibly playing catch-up,” Gillmor writes. “And offer special thanks that competition is alive in the chip-making arena. AMD helps keep Intel on its toes, and it’s not the only one to do so… note IBM’s ever-improving PowerPC architecture, which powers Apple Computer’s latest [64-bit] G5 Macintosh line and will be the brains of Microsoft’s next version of the Xbox game player.”

Full article here.


  1. Intel is not playing catchup with Apple, despite what the headline says. Apple doesn’t make anything to compete with Intel. Apple makes consumer electronics and software, Intel is a chip manufacturer. I would argue that IBM isn’t making much outside the console business to compete with Intel, and that is not in the 64-32 bit space. The few chips it supplies Apple at this point would be a drop in the proverbial bucket for Intel, hardly “competition”.

    I would hope that an informed and educated site like this can read through the fluff of bold headlines and report on what is accurate. This article seems like some kind of attempt to spin Intel’s failure to address a market trend to imply obvious superiority of Apple.

    I think Apple’s success should stand on its own and doesn’t require such a leap in logic.

  2. Switcher,
    I think the headline should read;
    “Intel playing catch-up with AMD and IBM. Apple, IBM and AMD in the 64 bit arena.”

    The basic content of the article as well as the headline are correct. Intel claimed that there was no need for a 64 bit proc (primarily because of all the problems they were having getting one to work), and now their customer base is telling them they were wrong. Time to play catch-up.

  3. Next Intel creates 65 1/2 bit processors and claims that it works faster or was it that they will have 4gig processor before year ends. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />
    Oh what a joy.

  4. After all, what’s the point in having a 64-bit CPU without a 64-bit OS?

    The same story again:

    The Apple lemmings want to have a fast computer…

    Well you don’t.

    Microsoft has a 64bit OS and has the chips to go with it.

  5. Panther offers all the 64-bit functionality most people (and, say, a supercomputer like VT’s) need. And 64-bit is not what makes a G5 fast–it’s just a nice-sounding spec. The chip’s design and frontside bus make it fast.

    Oh, and a clarification: Apple DID help design the PPC architecture in general (along with Motorola), and the PPC 970/G5 in particular. It was NOT just IBM.

    (Question… are ALL of the next-generation game consoles now planning to use PowerPC? I’m pretty sure Microsoft and Nintento will… how about Sony?)

  6. …”After all, what’s the point in having a 64-bit CPU without a 64-bit OS?”…

    Because you don’t need a 64-bit OS to take advantage of a 64-bit CPU, DUH!

    …”The same story again:

    The Apple lemmings want to have a fast computer…

    Well you don’t.”…

    Hmmm… I’m not sure which Microsoft/Intel flavored kool-aid you’ve been drinking but, you’re still intoxicated beyond belief!

    What’s your definition of “FAST”?!

    …”Microsoft has a 64bit OS and has the chips to go with it.”…

    Ah yes, a 64bit OS without software, how cool!

  7. Lads, lads. All this talk seems nothing more than some adolescent boasts whose penis is larger.

    Windows users may claim to have a larger member, so to speak, but it is also infected and will soon fall off. Too bad.

  8. One important point that went unmentioned here is that even now that Intel knows that they’re going to make a 64/32-bit processor, doing so is in no way a slam-dunk. Intel has some serious catching up to do, and they don’t have a prototype yet… and given the problems they had with the Itanic, er, Itanium, it’s hard to believe that they’ll have a 64/32-bit processor in mass production in 2004.

    So that puts them 18 months behind Apple, IBM, and AMD? Yikes.

  9. Well I suspect that AMD, Sony and Microsoft prefering IBM technology and/or complete chips for the medium term future at least, and Intel’s well published problems with making their 90nm chip work not only any faster than present P4 chips, but without additionally leaking horrendous amounts of heat generating electrons must say something about the relevance of IBM’s competitiveness in this sphere.

  10. Another article on the subject is:

    One intesting quote from the Times article:

    >Not long ago, 64-bit computing – which allows data to move through a >computer far more quickly and makes it possible for the microprocessor to >handle much greater amounts of memory at any one time – was thought of >as useful only for the most esoteric scientific and engineering applications. >But with consumer PC tasks like video editing and even game playing >soaking up immense amounts of computing effort, that view has changed.

    What do I find interesting about that?

    Well, the constant refrain from Apple is that more intensive data processing and moving equipment–like the G5, Firewire 800, etc.–belong on pro machines, with the consumer machines using older technology. The Times article recognizes that consumers are doing more and more processor intensive tasks and that Intel’s move to desktop 64 bit computing is aimed at the home market, as opposed to Apple’s policy of keeping the goodies for the most expensive pro machines (even to the extent of not including Firewire 800 on machines that stradle the pro/consumer line–the 12″ Powerbook and 20″ iMac.

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