AMD brings the Hammer down

AMD is set to release details later today on their 64-bit extensions to the x86 instruction set and the chips that will use 'em. Jumping the gun just a bit, Bill over at CPU Review has released a very informative article with lots of juicy bits on the new AMD architecture. Among the highlights:
  • SledgeHammer samples are not shipping (The Register was wrong)
  • The SledgeHammer chip is but one in a family of "Hammer"-codenamed CPUs
  • x86-64 will use essentially the same instruction set, but with lots more registers
  • AMD's x86-64 processors will support 3DNow!, SSE, and SSE2 instructions
  • The most advanced processor in the line will be the MC Hammer. AMD's planned marketing slogan: "Can't touch this."
There's a lot more good info in the CPU Review write-up, so just go read it—especially if you're a processor geek.

Bill also speculates that 64-bit versions of Linux should be available for x86-64 in fairly short order. Should be a very powerful combination.

And speak of the devil, as I write, this just popped into my inbox:

SUNNYVALE, CA-AUGUST 10, 2000 -AMD today publicly released the x86-64(tm) Architecture Programmers Overview, the instruction manual the software community can use to begin incorporating x86-64 technology support in their operating systems, applications, drivers and development tools. AMD's x86-64 technology will first be supported in the family of processors codenamed "Hammer," planned to be announced at the end of 2001.

"Sun Microsystems' Solaris team is very excited about AMD's x86-64 technology. We applaud AMD's ISV compatibility and upgrade strategy as well as their open technology announcement today. We will be following their progress closely as this technology comes to market," said Anil Gadre, vice president and general manager for Solaris at Sun Microsystems.

The rest of the press release is available here, and you can read AMD's overview of the technology for yourself right here. If AMD manages to sell this tech to enough OEMs and software developers, the days of Intel's dominance in the processor market may actually be numbered.
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