Microsoft test drives Intel Merced

Microsoft and Intel have confirmed they are working on a version of Windows NT optimised for Intel's future 64-bit processor family.

Intel has begun calling the line IA-64, to contrast with the Pentium Pro (IA-32). IA stands for Intel Architecture, the firm said. The first product in the IA-64 range will be the chip code-named Merced, but Intel will only commit to a ship date "during the next few years".

The new NT environment will support software optimised for IA-64 processors as well as supporting IA-32 (Pentium Pro) applications. Microsoft intends to release the 64-bit NT at the same time as Intel releases Merced.

Microsoft can be contacted by telephone on 01734-270001.

Intel can be contacted by telephone on 01793-403000.

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