Intel will offer 64-bit CPUs that can also handle 32-bit apps.
An all-64-bit-computing world just took a significant step forward, and your upgrade path to that world just got a lot less risky. Why? Intel's new Xeons and future Prescott-based CPUs will support the same 64-bit software as AMD's existing Athlon 64 and Opteron chips. And like those AMD chips, the new Intel CPUs will continue to support your favorite 32-bit apps, as well. Another potential selling point for early adopters: If Intel follows AMD's lead in terms of pricing, you won't have to pay much--if any--premium for better-performing 64-bit desktop systems over comparable 32-bit-only PCs.
Because these Intel and AMD 64-bit chips will run the same OS and apps, development of software to take advantage of such chips--especially their ability to address larger amounts of system memory--should be faster, says Peter Glaskowsky, editor in chief of Microprocessor Report. "This eliminates the last bit of confusion for the application developers," he adds.
News source: PCWorld