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Difference Between IA64 and x64

amdIA64 vs x64

IA64 is the initial name of what is now known as the Itanium Architecture. This was Intel ‘s first attempt at breaking the limits imposed by the 32 bit architectures that were predominant at the time. AMD initially introduced x86-64, or more commonly known as x64, to extend the current x86 architecture and allow the use of more resources. The Itanium architecture was developed by Intel and as such, is exclusive to them only while x64 is in use by both AMD and Intel.

As IA64 was developed with high performance computing as the target, it breaks compatibility with most of the older 32 bit applications that are in use even today. x64 maximizes compatibility with these applications as it was intended to replace the aging 32 bit platforms for desktops and low-end servers. This was one of the major reasons why people were slow to adopt IA64 and it was eventually overtaken by x64 in terms of market share. x64 systems have also been scaled up and are now able to compete with IA64 systems in certain configurations.

A huge problem with IA64 is the very slow development. Newer technologies like DDR3 and PCIE take so long before they are even compatible with IA64.This is no problem with x64 as the very competitive desktop market means that manufacturers are quick to integrate new technologies that would give them an edge in the market. Although a lot of operating systems supported IA64 in the past, the predominant of HP-UNIX has urged Microsoft and Red Hat to stop creating IA64 compatible versions of their respective operating systems.

The future of IA64 is not that clear as the competition from x64 is rather strong. x64 has gained solid ground as the replacement for x86-32 and there is no indication that the current trend would change in any way.


1. IA64 refers to the 64 bit Itanium architecture while x64 is the 64 bit extension to the x86 architecture

2. The IA64 is exclusive to Intel while x64 is used by all

3. IA64 was intended for high-end server applications while x64 was initially intended for desktops but were scaled up

4. IA64 systems are not able to run old x86 applications while most x64 systems are

5. IA64 is very slow to adopt new computer technologies while x64 is very fast

6. IA64 would no longer be supported by newer versions of Microsoft Windows while the x64 would still be supported

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