64-Bit Windows Part 11: Windows On Windows 64

We saw that both Itanium and x64 processors have a way of making their differences from 32-bit x86 processors invisible to 32-bit x86 code, although we noted that x64’s do so in a way that is a lot more efficient than  Itaniums.  However, when the 32-bit x86 code is running on a 64-bit operating system,…


64-Bit Windows: The Alienware has landed

The Alienware Athlon 64 FX-55 was delivered last week.  It’s in an enormous black box that stands higher than my dining table, as you can see below.  Looking at it makes me feel like one of the monkeys from 2001: A Space Odyssey. 


64-bit Windows – Part 10

A comment from Christopher reminded me to mention this: today, the 64-bit version of Windows are not sold retail, and that will continue to be the case for the 64-bit versions that ship as part of the Windows Server 2003 SP1 release.  It will be sold to hardware manufacturers, and available via MSDN Professional and…


64-bit Windows Part 9: Microsoft Operating Systems

Concerning operating systems, it is crucial to remember that Itaniums can only run operating systems compiled for the EPIC instruction set, whereas x64 processors will run operating systems compiled for them or for x86 processors.    For Itaniums, Microsoft has had Itanium versions of Windows XP Professional and Windows Server 2003 available to its customers…


64-Bit Windows Part 8: What is Microsoft doing about 64-bit personal computers

At this point, we have established that the 64-bit PC computing world is really very different from 32-bit PC computing.  It’s not just a matter of the processors being faster.  Whereas with 32-bit PCs, you could count on having an x86 instruction set at the bottom, that’s not the case with 64-bit PCs, where you…


64-Bit Windows Part 7: Taking it Personally – Michael Dell, are you reading this?

Folks who read my posts, and I am always very surprised to find that there are some, will know that unlike the majority of people who maintain blogs mostly devoted to technical topics, I never presume that anyone is interested in my personal life.  Other readers of William Gibson’s writings may be inclined to concur…


64-Bit Windows Part 6: The Hardware Landscape

What does the 64-bit hardware landscape look like today, 18 months after AMD introduced the first x86 processor?  On September 8th, at the Intel Developer Forum, Abhi Talkwalkar, general manager of Intel’s Enterprise Platform Group acknowledged that Itanium sales are not meeting the “aggressive” levels that Intel had set.  By contrast, the Opteron market has…


64-bit Windows Part 5: A Summary Comparison of the Two Species of 64-bit Processors

So, we find that the Itanium processor and the x64 Opteron processor are very different.  They both incorporate ingenious ideas for drastically increasing the performance of the processor that go far beyond just making them 64-bit capable.  Compared purely as 64-bit processors, the Itanium’s massive floating point processing capability is impressive.  But in implementing its…


64-bit Windows Part 4: The x64 Standard

The first x64 processor was the AMD Opteron.  The Opteron x64 processor has at least three very important features.    First, it is a 64-bit processor.  Remember that we said that instructions to a 64-bit processor can refer to memory addresses using 64-bit binary numbers?  Well, those addresses are entered into memory locations on the…