No timetable for 64-bit Windows 2003 server
According to this story over at Silicon Strategies, Microsoft has no timetable for an x86-64 version of its upcoming Windows Server 2003 server products:
A Microsoft executive would only say that a version supporting Opteron's 64-bit capabilities will come sometime after that launch and before the next major release of the OS code-named Black Home. "We haven't been able to settle on what that [64-bit Operton OS] product will look like, what the schedule will be or how we will announce it yet," said Bob O'Brien, group product manager for Microsoft's Windows Server division.
Versions of Windows Server 2003 will ship with support for Intel's 64-bit Itanium processor when the new operating system launches, but 64-bit support for AMD's Opteron line may not arrive until 2004. SuSE will apparently have a 64-bit version of Linux ready for Opteron's release, which means that AMD won't be without a 64-bit platform to show off Opteron's true capabilities. However, it looks like AMD may have changed its tune regarding how Opteron will be marketed:
"I think this will have minimal impact on AMD," said Nathan Brookwood, market watcher with Insight64 (Saratoga, Calif.). "Opteron really is being positioned by AMD as a future-proof version of a 32-bit CPU," with initial sales focused on 32-bit software and a capability to upgrade to 64-bits later, he added.
That AMD could even consider marketing Opteron as a 32-bit processor first, with 64-bit capabilities that can be exploited later certainly bodes well for the processor's 32-bit performance. Next to the Itanium, whose 32-bit performance is laughable, Opterons could look especially attractive for those not quite recompile or optimize applications for 64-bit platforms.