Windows for Athlon64

Microsoft announced that they should have beta releases of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 for the Hammer platform around the middle of the year.

That should mean finished product towards the end of the year, and probably at least an advanced beta by the time Athlon64 is scheduled to come out.

Even if the schedule slips a bit, that should be plenty of time for Microsoft to have a reasonably decent version of XP available by the time 90nm Hammers become available.

Yes, There’s An “I” In Audience, But . . .

I see the comments about 64-bit on the Internet and in my mailbox, and I begin to wonder if there isn’t some big Borg cube someplace where all these people live.

‘Cause they aren’t living in the real world talking (or at least listening) to real people, that’s for sure.

Or if they are, the CPUs in their heads are overclocked a bit too much because they’re getting data corruption.

First, some simply cannot tell the difference between themselves and the rest of the world. It’s like “well, I need more than 4Gb address space, doesn’t everybody?”

Yeah, when I go driving around with my “X86-64” license plates, cops stop me all the time just to vent their misery at how their lives have become a living hell due to that 4Gb limitation.

When I put out my garbage, fistfights break out among people brawling for the right to pick through my garbage for any possible 64-bit factoids I might have thrown out.

I can’t even wear my “64 or Die” T-shirt in public places anymore because I get mobbed by people begging for information.

And the women! Russell Crowe belted me once because I walked into a bar wearing that T-shirt and all the hot babes of course abandoned him and started hitting on me for 64-bit tips.

And if you believe that . . . . 🙂

Get real. Understand that the average computer user finds his or her computer to be a necessary evil, an overcomplicated VCR, not a source of pride or self-worth.

It’s Always Been That Way

The irony is that those who call those skeptical of x86-64 taking over the world soon Luddites are really the ones who don’t see that the times have changed. They’re the ones saying, “It’s going to be that way because . . . it’s always been that way.”

The point that’s under dispute here is not that some people will eagerly want and accept x86-64, but that everyone will. Especially when one of the folks saying “No” at the moment makes 80% of the world’s CPUs.

The last shift, from 16 to 32-bit, occurred in a much different world. Computers were a lot rarer, a lot less powerful, and a lot more expensive than they are today. The percentage of Joe Sixpacks owning computers was much lower than it is today.

Up to the last year or so, Joe really hasn’t had an option but to follow along, but now other options are emerging, and Joe is taking advantage of them.

If I may speak for the other skeptics, what we’re really saying is that the old paradigm is cracking. We don’t know for sure if it will completely break, but we at least see a good possibility of that happening.

It’s not because we particularly want it to; I think it’s because we’re more aware of what Joes do with computers, how they view them, what they want from one and what they’re likely to do once given alternatives.

You Are With Us Or Against Us

A disturbing number of people have written me to essentially say, “Why are you against this?”

This is disturbing because I’ve never said a word against the technological concept per se. It’s like saying I’m against Mercedes-Benz if I ever said I don’t think most Americans will buy one.

Around this time next year, I fully expect to have a Hammer system running 64-bit. I just doubt most of my neighbors will, or will anytime shortly thereafter.

A big part of the reason for that is that for this to happen, Chimpzilla is going to have to have to make Chipzilla cry “Uncle.” It might happen, but I wouldn’t bet the house on it.

AMD had an unquestionable edge over Intel just a couple years ago. How much did it shift market share? About 5%. This is good reason to be skeptical about x86-64 conquering the world.

If I had to bet on what’s going to happen, I would bet that we’ll see x86-64 being put into Xeons in maybe two-three years. This is the (small) market segment where Opterons have a pretty good chance to make big inroads.

On the desktop? Hammers will swim or sink for reasons other than 64-bit. Relatively few in the overall computing market (as opposed to, say, the hardcore hardware people) will buy it for x86-64, but they’ll be very noisy about it.

x86-64 vs. IA64

I always love it when I express an opinion, provide forty-seven reasons why I think what I think, then have people write me and ask, “What’s the real reason?” The usual conspiratorial reason is that I’m a stalking horse for Intel.

To us, this is not an AMD vs. Intel issue. We suspect in the very long run, x86 needs to be abandoned, and something like IA64 adopted (like meaning 64-bit from the ground up), but that doesn’t mean x86-64 isn’t viable or that we think IA64 will actually prove to be any good on the desktop.

If you put a gun to our heads and demanded a prediction, we’d probably say that both will fail to become a major desktop standard and something that doesn’t even exist yet will succeed instead.

Breaking Out of the Gheeko

If you get anything out of this, please get this. We’re not against x86-64. We’re not against Hammer. We’re not against you buying one.

We’re just trying to say that there’s a much bigger computing world out there, and they have much different, simpler computing interests and desires than you, and there’s a very good chance they won’t follow you like lemmings this time around.

Email Ed

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