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The future of computing is 64-bit, and that future is now. That is according to high-end server manufacturers Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc., both of which are readying 64-bit server rollouts.

HP’s new systems and processors are designed to consolidate some of the company’s existing 64-bit server technology onto Intel Corp.’s Itanium processor, while Sun is broadening its 64-bit stable with its first server running Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s Opteron processor.

Servers powered by 64-bit chips can run twice as many bits of information in a clock cycle than 32-bit systems and handle greater amounts of memory, making them attractive to enterprises running data-intensive programs.

HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., will use a rollout of systems this week to advance a multiyear project to consolidate its server lines down to three. The Integrity and NonStop systems will run the Itanium chip, while the HP 9000 line will run the company’s own PA-RISC chip.

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