Windows Server 2003 x64 server and Windows XP Professional x64 editions were released to manufacturing this week, Microsoft said. At an Intel 64-bit Xeon event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Andy Lees, corporate vice president of server and tools business at Microsoft, said the official introduction of the 64-bit extended editions would be at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (HEC) 2005 in Seattle in late April.
Unlike the existing 64-bit version designed for Intel's Itanium, the 64-bit versions coming out this spring will support both existing 32-bit and 64-bit applications and show considerable performance improvements in select applications such as databases. This will enable more customers to integrate existing 32-bit applications and experiment with 64-bit computing on the same platform.
"We're in the final stages of completing that offering," Lees said. "We're making sure we take all of the ISVs with us [and] we'll be announcing a raft of people making full 64-bit versions of their applications available. The fact that you're fully compatible with 32-bit [offers] massive improvements in price/performance."
Microsoft announced the release candidate of the Windows server x64 code in February. The company originally expected to ship the software in 2004.