AMD Releases x86-64™ Architectural Specification; Enables Market Driven Migration to 64-Bit Computing
AMD's evolutionary approach builds upon the x86 instruction set; preserves billions of dollars in corporate hardware and software investments
SUNNYVALE, CA --
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.
"Sun Microsystems' Solaris team is very excited about AMD's x86-64™ technology. We applaud AMD's ISV compatibility and upgrade strategy as well as their open technology announcement today. We will be following their progress closely as this technology comes to market," said Anil Gadre, vice president and general manager for Solaris at Sun Microsystems.
AMD x86-64™ technology is designed to enable platform suppliers, developers, and corporations to transition to 64-bit environments while continuing to have leading 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-bit 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 straight-forward 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.
"AMD's evolutionary approach to 64-bit computing through an innovative extension to an industry standard is a testament to AMD's commitment to delivering better solutions to the market," said David Somo, vice president of Marketing for AMD's Computation Products Group. "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."
"AMD is excited to begin working with the development community to incorporate support for our x86-64™ technology," said Fred Weber, AMD vice president of Engineering. "AMD's x86-64™ technology is intended to integrate fluidly into the existing 32-bit computing environment, allowing users to continue running 32-bit applications. It will also permit users to adopt 64-bit applications at their own pace, as the hardware and software support for 64-bit computing become available."
"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."
The complete text of the AMD x86-64™ architecture specification is available today. AMD will also distribute the specification at LinuxWorld in San Jose next week.
About AMD's x86-64™ Technology
AMD's straightforward approach to 64-bit computing builds upon the x86 instruction set, one of the industry's most proven and widely supported technologies. AMD x86-64™ technology is designed to support applications that address large amounts of physical and virtual memory, such as high performance servers, database management systems, and CAD tools. The x86-64™ technology seamlessly integrates into the current computing and support environment, and is designed to enable enterprises to deploy high performance 64-bit capable systems that build upon the billions of dollars already invested in 32-bit software.
AMD enhances the current x86 instruction set by introducing two major features: a 64-bit extension called long mode, and register extensions. Long mode consists of two sub-modes: 64-bit mode, and compatibility mode. 64-bit mode supports new 64-bit code through the addition of eight general-purpose registers and widens them all along with the instruction pointer. It also adds eight 128-bit floating point registers. Compatibility mode supports existing 16-bit and 32-bit applications under a 64-bit operating system. In addition to long mode, the architecture also supports a pure x86 legacy mode, which preserves binary compatibility with existing 16-bit and 32-bit applications and operating systems.
Visit AMD on the Web
The x86-64™ Architecture Programmers Overview including the full specification and developer support is available. For more information, please visit AMD's virtual pressroom.
Note to Editor: Additional information will be available on Thursday morning. Fred Weber, vice president of engineering, Computation Products Group at AMD, will lead a teleconference. A moderated question-and-answer period will follow opening remarks.
Thursday, August 10, 2000
8:30 a.m. US PDT
Audio replay information:
A replay will be available beginning at 10:30 a.m. US PDT, August 10, and will run until 10:30 a.m. US PDT, August 17.
To access audio replay:
(800) 633-8284/(858) 812-6440
Enter Reservation #16043498
This release contains forward-looking statements, which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are generally preceded by words such as "plans," "expects," "believes," "anticipates," or "intends." Investors are cautioned that all forward-looking statements in this release involve risks and uncertainty that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations. Forward looking statements in this release include the risks that developers may not support the x86-64™ technology and design tools for the technology in a timely manner or at all, that AMD will not successfully implement the technology in its products on a timely basis, that the "Hammer" family of processors may not be announced on the anticipated schedule and may not be designed with the anticipated technologies, and that the x86-64™ technology may not achieve customer and market acceptance. We urge investors to review in detail the risks and uncertainties in the Company's filings with the United States Securities Exchange Commission.