While Merced is on track for 2000, it's role will be limited to that of a launch vehicle for IA-64. Indeed, the next generation x86 (Foster) will deliver similar performance to native IA-64 code on Merced for most apps. Only apps requiring 64 bit addressing would benefit from Merced. However this picture will change in late 2001 with McKinley which should be twice as fast. In 2003, a derivative of McKinley in 0.13 micron may be cheap enough to ship for high-end PCs. A big headache for Intel will be how to convince software developers to migrate. S: My personal opinion is that the next really large leap in computing requirements will be driven by Artificial Intelligence software, for tasks such as natural language processing and integrating knowledge into a model of the world... but within 5 years? What do you think will be the next CPU-power sink? Games? In related news, ST's new PC on a chip will run Linux.