March 6, 2006 4:00 AM PST
Who wants or needs 64 bits?
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start hitting in numbers for consumers until 2007 and 2008.
"You have to make sure you have the market to sell the code," she said.
In all fairness, AMD, the biggest proponent of 64-bit desktop computing, didn't expect an overnight revolution. The performance benefits of Opteron and Athlon initially would come from HyperTransport, an input-output standard, and an integrated memory controller, executives said in the years leading up to Opteron. Those two architectural changes did give Athlon and Opteron a boost in benchmarks.
Besides, the 64-bit discussions served a purpose in forcing Intel to finally come out with similar chips. It also allowed AMD to position itself as a technological leader. Since the release of Opteron and Athlon, it has gained market share.
Still, the changeover seems to be occurring slower than they anticipated. In 2002, AMD executives predicted that people would begin to start taking advantage of the 64-bit capabilities soon after the chips hit and that the market would begin to see some desktops with 4GB of memory in 2004.
In August 2003, before more Microsoft delays, AMD said 64-bit technology, including software, would be somewhat widespread in 12 to 15 months, even in notebooks.
Ironically, the 2007 and 2008 predictions for the emergence of 64-bit applications fit closer to what Intel said, before it jumped into 64-bit desktop chips. Company executives and scientists through 2002 and 2003 said mainstream users wouldn't likely need 64-bit desktops until about 2008 or 2009.
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