Windows XP 64-Bit Edition beta released

Microsoft made the announcement at AMD’s launch of the AMD Athlon (TM) 64 processor in San Francisco. The updated 64-bit operating system, Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems, whichwill run natively on AMD Athlon 64 processor-powered desktops and AMD Opteron (TM) processor-powered workstations, provides the superior performance needed by consumers and business customers for thenext generation of high-performance desktop computing, including gaming, digital content creation and video editing.

A key benefit of the updated operating system is the Microsoft Windows on Windows 64 (WOW64) technology, which will enable customers who currently have Windows XP-compatible 32-bit applications to run those applications on the 64-bit operating system. The WOW64 architecture takes advantage of the AMD64 architecture to enable compatibility with 32-bit applications without a loss of performance in nearly all cases, helping protect customers’ current and future technology investments.

“We’ve heard from our customers that, until now, the inability to efficiently run 32-bit applications on 64-bit systems has been a major barrier to investing in 64-bit technologies,” said Chris Jones, corporate vice president for the Windows Client Division at Microsoft. “With the combination of Windows XP and the new AMD64 processors, customers can be assured of having all the computing power and memory they need, now and into the future, while still being able to run their current applications.”

Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems is designed for use on high-performance PCs. This means new customers will be able to extend beyond the 4-gigabyte physical memory limit of 32-bit computing. The unprecedented power of this new Windows platform is expected to lead to an exciting future of cinematic computing PC experiences, especially in the areas of advanced gaming, digital content creation and video editing. Gamers will enjoy a new level of realism, while digital media enthusiasts will be able to create content of a quality normally achievable only by professionals.

“Windows XP and AMD64 hold the promise of bringing 64-bit computing to a whole new set of computer users, delivering immersive, cinema-quality user experiences for gaming and working with digital media,” said Dirk Meyer, senior vice president of the Computation Products Group at AMD. “AMD and Microsoft have worked together to help ensure customers will be able to run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications on a single platform. They are able to invest in the future now.”

The Windows and AMD64 platform is expected to increase the efficiency of many operations, including engineering and scientific projects, financial services, online transaction processing, data warehousing, and computer-aided design. The critical architectural flexibility that allows customers to run their current 32-bit applications on Windows XP 64-Bit Edition also will allow those customers to seamlessly upgrade to 64-bit versions of their applications as they become available.

This version of Windows XP 64-Bit Edition is the latest in Microsoft’s continuing efforts to deliver industry-leading innovation at an excellent price-to-performance ratio. Microsoft’s ongoing 64-bit development work and its collaboration with industry-leading semiconductor manufacturers prove its commitment to delivering high-performance, scalable operating systems and innovative products.

The beta version of Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems is available to MSDN subscribers, and a final release is expected to be available in the first half of 2004. Windows Server  2003 for 64-Bit Extended Systems also is available in beta with final release expected in the first half of 2004.