San Francisco - Intel CEO Craig Barrett officially reversed his company’s long-standing stance that 64-bit computer processors have no place in consumer PCs with the announcement on Feb. 17 that Intel will introduce the architecture into its chips in the second quarter.
Intel was denying any interest in rolling out a 64-bit processors as late as this January. This despite AMD introduction of a 64-bit processor that has already been picked up by entry-level PC vendor eMachines for use in a new notebook computer. Intel already uses 64-bit technology in its Itanium high-end server chip line, but had expressed no interest in migrating this further down its product line.
Barrett said at the Intel Developers Forum, being held here this week, that Intel will introduce a 64-bit memory extension to its Xeon server and workstation processors. Both are used in small businesses, enabling them to run newer 64-bit enabled software along with the embedded 32-bit variety. Barrett did not say when its Pentium consumer level processors would be upgraded.
Microsoft is expected to launch a 64-bit version of its Windows operating system later this year.