AMD releases test suite for 64-bit processor

Semiconductor maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. announced Monday that it is working with Swedish computer system simulation developer Virtutech AB to create software development tools for its “Hammer” 64-bit processor.

The two companies have created a tool, code-named “VirtuHammer,” which will allow software developers to write and test 64-bit programs in preparation for the planned commercial introduction of the next-generation AMD processors in the first half of 2002.

Virtutech’s Simics software allows a computer using the 32-bit AMD Athlon processor to simulate the operations of a 64-bit Hammer processor-based computer, allowing developers to use currently available technology to test and debug their 64-bit software. AMD has already begun delivering VirtuHammer simulators to targeted software partners, the company said in a release.

Overcoming a dearth of applications for 64-bit chips may boost sales.

Intel Corp. is expected to roll out its own 64-bit processor, the Itanium, later this month or next month. Initially, Itanium and its IA-64 architecture may have a small market, according to Intel, because 64-bit computing has been applied only to the intense computational applications found in data mining and data warehousing.

IBM Corp. has designed an Itanium-based workstation code-named Rattler, which is expected to land at the top of IBM’s Z-Pro workstation line, as soon as the first Itanium chips become generally available. It has over 200 applications certified to run on the system.

AMD, in Sunnyvale, Calif., can be contacted at Virtutech, in Stockholm, can be contacted at