AMD releases its "Hammer"

AMD releases its new x86-64 architectural specification which will enable market driven migration towards 64-bit computing.
Written by ZDNet Staff, Contributor

HONG KONG - AMD today publicly released the x86-64™ Architecture Programmers Overview, the instruction manual the software community can use to begin incorporating x86-64 technology support in their operating systems, applications, drivers and development tools. AMD’s x86-64 technology will first be supported in the family of processors codenamed “Hammer,” planned to be announced at the end of 2001.

AMD x86-64 technology is designed to enable platform suppliers, developers, and corporations to transition to 64-bit environments while continuing to have performance on the vast installed base of existing 32-bit applications. 64-bit computing is ideal for memory hungry applications such as large databases, CAD tools, and simulation engines that are currently limited by the 4GB addressing limitation.

AMD is enhancing the x86 architecture to include a 64-bit mode that has both a 64-bit address space and a 64-bit data space. AMD’s 64-bit processors will be designed to detect which mode is needed (32- or 64-bit) and compute accordingly.

The computer industry has extended the x86 instruction set twice previously, from 8-bit to 16-bit and from 16-bit to 32-bit. AMD’s x86-64 architecture is a straightforward approach to extending the instruction set, and will allow developers to employ their experience and the tools they have accumulated since the inception of the x86 instruction set more than 20 years ago.

“Ultimately this technology is designed to help preserve the enterprise community’s enormous financial investment in 32-bit operating systems, applications, development tools and support infrastructure while providing a seamless path to deploy future 64-bit technology,” said David Somo, vice president of Marketing for AMD’s Computation Products Group.

"Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of AMD's approach to 64-bit computing is that it is an extension to the 32-bit environment prevailing in the industry today rather than a radical departure," said Gordon Haff, a Research Director with the Aberdeen Group.
"As the industry as a whole progresses to 64-bit platforms, we expect many system suppliers, software vendors, MIS managers and end users to be interested in architectural features that allow them to migrate at their own pace," added Gordon Haff.

The complete text of the AMD x86-64 architecture specification is available today over here. AMD will also distribute the specification at LinuxWorld in San Jose next week.

About AMD

AMD is a global supplier of integrated circuits for the personal and networked computer and communications markets with manufacturing facilities in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Asia. AMD produces microprocessors, flash memory devices, and support circuitry for communications and
networking applications. Founded in 1969 and based in Sunnyvale, California, AMD had revenues of $2.9 billion in 1999. (NYSE: AMD).

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