AMD and Apple are touting 64-bit computing on the desktop far too quickly, Intel CTO Pat Gelsinger said today. Moving beyond 32-bit addressing is "really not needed for several more years", he told reporters attending the Intel Developer Forum in San Jose. AMD, of course, isn't going to wait that long. Next week, the company will unveil its long-awaited 64-bit desktop processor, the Athlon 64. And, just a few weeks ago, Apple began shipping its Power Mac G5 desktop based on the 64-bit IBM PowerPC 970 processor.
But if Gelsinger's comments are anything to go by, Intel believes its rivals are coming to market too early. "How many [users] have seen the crippling 4GB limit on their desktop PCs?" he asked. Today, he claimed, there aren't apps that need more than the 4GB offered by virtual memory schemes, let alone however much physical memory is available. So when will 64-bit computing on the desktop become a necessity? "As a rule of thumb, address space [requirements] consume a bit every two years," he said. "We're at 1GB now and starting to see 2GB. So we're probably about three of four years away from really needing that 4GB on general desktops. That puts you out in the 2006/07 timeframe."
News source: The Register