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64-bit Windows Client RTMs

A low-key re-release of a 64-bit desktop version of Windows was quietly Released to Manufacturing on Friday along with the higher profile Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft sent Windows XP 64-Bit Edition Version 2003 to the factory and to OEMs. The new client operating system builds on the 64-bit edition of Windows XP that Microsoft released back in October 2001 along with the general release of the Windows XP client operating systems. It will be generally available on April 24.

The major enhancement in the new client OS is optimization for the Itanium 2 processor, Intel's second-generation attempt at a 64-bit chip. The original 64-bit edition of Windows XP was optimized for the original Itanium.

The new release comes at the same time that Microsoft is sending its first general availability commercial 64-bit server operating systems into the manufacturing pipeline. They are Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition for 64-bit Itanium 2 Systems and Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition for 64-bit Itanium 2 Systems. Microsoft is also expected to release an operating system supporting AMD's 64-bit Opteron chip, but the company hasn't committed to a date for that.

The 64-bit desktop operating system is designed for complex scientific problems, developing high-performance design and engineering applications, creating 3-D animations and producing videos.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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