AMD targets NT 4.0 users with Opteron

AMD will target users of Windows NT 4.0 with its 64bit Opteron processor, due for release on 22 April. The strategy highlights the diverse approaches of AMD, which is encouraging firms to make a gradual move from 32bit to 64bit worlds, and its larger rival Intel, which expects firms to make a sharper change because its 64bit Itanium processors slow the performance of 32bit applications.

AMD said it was aiming at a huge business audience that has deployed NT 4.0 and now must decide which computing platform is the next step. "Their upgrade path is not sure," said Richard Baker, AMD European marketing manager. "[Intel's 32bit server processor] Xeon technology is a dead end, so the confidence that the migration path will last is nil. [People are asking], 'Do we go Xeon or Itanium?' "Itanium is fraught with difficulties because there's no sensible upgrade path from NT 4.0 to a 64bit operating system."

AMD is targeting Opteron at firms that want to take a conservative track between the 32bit and 64bit worlds. It said the Opteron design enables faster server applications by accelerating 32bit applications as well as offering 64bit capabilities.

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