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Gates: 64-Bit PCs Mainstream In Two Years

Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates predicted that 64-bit computing will become mainstream in the PC industry over the next two years because of 32-bit extended technology that preserves customers' existing investments.

"64-bit will be common sense in the next couple of years," Gates said, noting that the high-performance processor engine will take off on workstations and desktops as 64-bit/32-bit capable chipsets supercede stand-alone 32-bit processors in the next couple of years. "It puts us at the very high end of computing, and it will be a smoother transition than those previously."

To that end, Microsoft announced at WinHec 2004 in Seattle that its Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems is scheduled to be released in the fourth quarter.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant also unveiled the release of an enhanced Driver Development Kit for the 64-bit Extended environment that will support Visual Studio.Net 2003 and Microsoft .Net Framework 1.1, which will enable more application development for the 64-bit Extended environment.

Gates said Microsoft will take advantage of processors with "multiple cores" that enable parallel processing on the PC desktop and server. The company will support typical eight-core server processors and two-core desktop processors, Gates said. He also urged ISVs to begin developing applications that exploit the new architectures.

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