In 2002, when we were Windows & .NET Magazine, we developed our Readers' Choice Awards as a way to let our readers evaluate and recommend the best technology products in the industry. Readers' Choice has become an annual tradition that brings readers and vendors together to honor the best of the best in the IT marketplace. No one knows more about the best values in Windows IT products and services than you, the readers of Windows IT Pro. You're the professionals who research and buy products, then put them to the ultimate test—daily use in your IT infrastructure, where there's little room for failure.

In this year's contest, voters chose from nearly 750 products that were nominated in 12 major technology categories comprising 76 subcategories. Early last spring, we invited technology vendors to nominate their products for inclusion on the

Readers' Choice online ballot, and voting took place between April 5 and May 1. Voters wrote in their favorite products in one overall category, Best New Product. The following pages highlight the winners of this year's awards, the products you and your peers chose as tops in their market. Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to our readers for taking the time to vote. When it comes to IT products and services, your opinions are the opinions that matter.

Best New Product
This year's winner of the Best New Product award is AMD, whose landmark dual-core Opteron processors provide a dramatic leap forward in performance and enable simultaneous 32- and 64-bit computing. AMD x64 Opteron processors are 100 percent binary compatible with existing 32-bit x86 applications and support native 64-bit x64 applications. To reduce memory latencies associated with legacy front-side bus system designs, the AMD architecture uses an integrated memory controller and the high-performance Direct Connect Architecture, which is built with HyperTransport bus technology and supports CPU and I/O connection speeds of 8GB per second. Direct Connect Architecture achieved a world-record performance for 4-P systems in the Transaction Processing Performance Council's (TPC's) TPC-C online transaction processing benchmark. In the record-setting test, an HP Pro-Liant DL585 server equipped with four Opteron 880 dualcore processors scored 202,557 transactions per minute (tpmC), the highest mark for any four-processor system. The AMD Opteron processor is offered in three series—the 100 series (1-way), the 200 series (as much as 2-way), and the 800 series (as much as 8-way)—and in server and workstation versions.

1st—AMD Dual-Core Opteron Processor: http://www.amd.com
2nd—VMware VMware Player: http://www.vmware.com/products/player
3rd—Microsoft SQL Server 2005: http://www.microsoft.com/sql

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