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64-bit Windows nears release

Microsoft said on Tuesday that it has issued a second, near-final version of several Windows updates.

Microsoft said on Tuesday that it has issued a second, near-final version of several Windows updates, including the first desktop version of Windows to support 64-bit chips. Microsoft said it has finished "Release Candidate 2" of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, which also serves as the core for Windows Server 2003 x64 edition and Windows XP Professional x64 edition, with all three products set to be released before the end of June. The first Release Candidate versions were offered in December.

Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices in particular has been eagerly awaiting the updates, which add support for its 64-bit Athlon XP desktop chips and Opteron server chips, processors that have been on the market for the better part of two years. Microsoft already has a 64-bit version of Windows for Intel's Itanium chip, but the "x64 version" has been a long time coming.