[Guide] What does IA64 or Itanium-Based System Mean? Is It Different from x64 (64-Bit)?
Many times if you are looking for a download on Microsoft website, you might have seen the term "IA64" or "Itanium-based system". Many software or updates present at Microsoft website are available in 3 forms: x86 (32-bit), x64 (64-bit) and IA64 (Itanium-based) installer. Many people wonder what does this IA64 or Itanium-based term mean?
Recently we received a similar question from our reader "meito" in our exclusive "What is Microsoft .NET Framework?" article. He was also wondering about IA64 term mentioned for a download in the article.
So today we decided to post this article explaining the meaning and use of IA64 or Itanium-based systems.
First of all lets clear that IA64 and x64 are not same! Both are different processor architectures. IA64 also known as Itanium-based system is a processor architecture specifically developed for Server operating systems. IA64 stands for Intel Itanium Architecture 64. It was originally developed by the popular HP (Hewlett-Packard) company and later Intel also joined HP in the development of this processor architecture.
IA64 was developed for Enterprise servers and high-performance computer systems but it didn't work well as expected. The main problem in IA64 was the lack of support for older x86 (32-bit) programs. It was not able to run older x86 programs properly.
On the other hand, x64 (64-bit) architecture can run both x86 as well as x64 programs without any problem. x64 is actually a 64-bit extension of the older x86 architecture.
Almost all new Desktop PCs and laptops come with x64 (64-bit) processor architecture. You'll never find IA64 or Itanium-based processor in any normal computer. IA64 was last supported in Windows XP and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems as Microsoft developed special editions of Windows OS for IA64 processor architecture. Newer Windows versions do not support IA64 architecture as Microsoft decided to end support for it long time back.
Interested people can know whether they are using IA64 or x64 or x86 processor in their computers with the help of a simple built-in command in Windows OS. Windows operating system comes with a command WMIC which can be used to know the processor architecture present in the computer.
You can execute the command with the help of following simple steps:
1. First of all open Command Prompt using any method mentioned in this tutorial.
2. Now run following command in Command Prompt window:
WMIC CPU GET architecture
3. The command will output any of following 3 values:
- 0 (it means you are using x86 or 32-bit architecture)
- 6 (it means you are using IA64 or Itanium-based architecture)
- 9 (it means you are using x64 or 64-bit architecture)
Most of the times you'll get 9 as the result as most of the computers are based on x64 processor architecture.
So now you should be no longer confused between x64 and IA64 architectures. x64 is a popular architecture found in almost all new Desktop PCs and laptops. On the other hand, IA64 (Itanium-based) architecture is found in servers but you'll not find them easily.
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