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April 25, 2005
PTC Pro/ENGINEER Supports 64-Bit Windows XP Professional On HP Workstations
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor


by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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PTC Pro/ENGINEER Supports 64-Bit Windows XP Professional On HP Workstations

PTC has announced Pro/ENGINEER 64-bit support for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition on HP workstations with 64-bit Intel Xeon processors.


Pro/ENGINEER is a 3D product design solution that helps companies develop detailed, intuitive and realistic digital product representations. The 64-bit architecture drastically reduces hardware memory restrictions, enabling users to create, manage, retrieve and visualize larger and more complex assemblies.


PTC worked closely with HP and Intel to develop a natively ported 64-bit version of Pro/ENGINEER. The new version allows users to take advantage of the massive amount of addressable memory available on the HP workstations based on 64-bit Intel Xeon processors with best-in-class application performance. Pro/ENGINEER has displayed no limit to the size or complexity of the assemblies that it can handle. The only limitation has been the maximum amount of memory that could be managed by 32-bit operating systems. With this restriction removed, customers can work more effectively on the most demanding engineering and design challenges, with increased productivity associated with the ability to
create, manage, retrieve and visualize assemblies of any size or complexity.


"64-bit Intel Xeon processor-based platforms are becoming the new industry standard helping users to achieve new levels of performance and reliability for their most demanding applications," said Jerry Braun, product line manager for Intel's Digital Enterprise Group.


"HP is the first company to deliver certified workstations for PTC Pro/ENGINEER utilizing 64-bit Intel Xeon processors," said Jim Zafarana, vice president of Worldwide Marketing for Workstations at HP. "By working closely with key customers to test this new solution, PTC customers can confidently take advantage of our new workstation features like increased memory capabilities that enable engineers to work with larger assemblies, helping them reduce their error risk and improve their time to market."


"By providing 64-bit support in Pro/ENGINEER, PTC is offering customers a way to help leverage their technology investment with more platform choices," said Michael Campbell, vice president, product management, PTC. "With increased memory space, Pro/ENGINEER customers challenged by the limitations of today's 32-bit environments will be able to manage large, complex data sets with ease, and without sacrificing performance."



PTC Pro/ENGINEER Supports 64-Bit Windows XP Professional On IBM IntelliStation A Pro Workstations

PTC also announced Pro/ENGINEER 64-bit, support for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition on the IBM IntelliStation A Pro with the AMD Opteron processor. Pro/ENGINEER is a 3D product design solution that helps companies develop detailed, intuitive and realistic digital product representations. The innovative 64-bit environment can drastically reduce the memory limitations of 32-bit-operating systems that forced users to divide large datasets to conform to the memory restriction, allowing access to an unimaginable 18 billion GB of addressable memory.


Pro/ENGINEER has displayed no limit to the size or complexity of the assemblies that it can handle. The only limitation has been the maximum amount of memory that could be managed by 32-bit operating systems. PTC worked closely with IBM and AMD to develop a natively ported 64-bit version of Pro/ENGINEER for use on the IBM IntelliStation A Pro with AMD Opteron processor. With this restriction removed, customers can work more effectively on the most demanding engineering and design challenges, with increased productivity associated with the ability to create, manage, retrieve, and visualize assemblies of any size or complexity.


"The IBM IntelliStation A Pro workstation with AMD Opteron processor provides customers with performance, availability and scalability, delivering enterprise-class capabilities at industry-leading price/performance levels," said Bob Lenard, worldwide brand manager of workstations, IBM.


"AMD's continued leadership in simultaneous 32- and 64-bit computing is allowing more and more people to take advantage of software that can process more data and access a tremendous amount of memory," said Pat Patla, director, server/workstation marketing, Microprocessor Business Unit, Computation Products Group, AMD. "The AMD Opteron processor with Direct Connect Architecture, along with IBM and the growing AMD64 software ecosystem, provides a sound technology investment and competitive advantage for Pro/ENGINEER users."


"The advent of 64-bit extension technology solves a really tough problem for our customers who develop large or complex products. Now they will be able to fully use the capabilities of Pro/ENGINEER for designing and managing large assemblies with excellent performance without increasing costs," said Michael Campbell, vice president, product management, PTC. "PTC's collaboration with IBM and AMD to deliver Pro/ENGINEER 64-bit support for this platform reflects the company's ongoing commitment to providing value to our customers."


These announcements are significant because of the two CPU giants involved, Intel and AMD. Windows XP Professional x64 Edition will run on the AMD Athlon 64, AMD Opteron, Intel Xeon with EM64T and Intel Pentium 4 with EM64T. The 64-bit technology should accommodate much larger and more complex models, as well as the ability to better handle computationally-intensive operations, such as complex analysis and simulation. PTC is planning Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 2.0 64-bit to be available concurrent with the availability of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition anytime now (late April).


The main difference between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows is memory support. Currently, 32-bit Windows is capable of supporting up to 4 GB of system memory, with up to 2 GB of dedicated memory per processor. Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, on the other hand, will be able to support up to 128 GB of RAM, with the potential to support up to 16 terabytes of virtual memory as hardware capabilities and memory sizes grow. As far as features go, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition should have parity with 32-bit Windows.


A unique feature of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition processor architecture is its ability to run 32-bit and 64-bit applications equally well. For example, PCs running Windows XP Professional x64 Edition performs as well as or better than a 32-bit processor for many native 32-bit applications, while allowing customers to run native 64-bit applications as they become available. This provides flexibility for and the ability to run both the 32-bit and 64-bit applications.


Windows XP Professional x64 Edition systems can be used with existing Windows-based networks and managed alongside 32-bit systems with the same administrative tools, so overhead costs for maintaining and administering two systems are reduced. Developers will find the development environment virtually identical to the development environment for 32-bit Windows, because the Microsoft Win6 application programming interface (API) is the same as the Microsoft Win32 API. The existing APIs have been modified where necessary to let them reflect the precision of the platform on which they are running. In other words, writing code for 64-bit Windows is just about like writing code for 32-bit
Windows. The new system provides interoperability across the boundary between 32-bit and 64-bit applications for scenarios such as cut and paste and COM. However, 32-bit processes cannot load 64-bit dynamic link libraries (DLLs), and 64-bit processes cannot load 32-bit DLLs. Also, some software developers claim that 64-bit systems actually process data more slowly than 32-bit systems, although these limitation claims seem to be relatively few in number.


Limitations aside, expect to see more MCAD, CAM, and CAE vendors follow PTC and Pro/ENGINEER into the world of 64-bit computing.



Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached here or 408.850.9230.


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    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.


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