ARM unveils new 64-bit ARMv8 architecture

By Lee Kaelin on November 1, 2011, 9:30 AM

ARM Holdings has released details of its upcoming ARMv8 architecture at the ARM TechCon conference in Santa Clara, marking the chip maker's first ARM architecture to utilize a 64-bit instruction set.

The new architecture builds on the success of the 32-bit ARMv7 versions, using the foundations put in place by the runaway success of the Cortex-A9 and Cortex-A15 chips by adding 64-bit processing and extended virtual addressing.

The new 64-bit chips include two main execution states, AArch64 and AArch32. The A64 is for true 64-bit processing, and the existing A32 is part of the current ARMv7 architecture, including key features such as TrustZone Virtualization and NEON advanced SIMB which are to be maintained or improved as part of the release of the ARMv8 chips.

“With our increasingly connected world, the market for 32-bit processing continues to expand and evolve creating new opportunities for 32-bit ARMv7 based processors in embedded, real-time and open application platforms. We believe the ARMv8 architecture is ideally suited to enable the ARM partnership to continue to grow in 32-bit application spaces and bring diverse, innovative and energy-efficient solutions to 64-bit processing markets,” said Mike Muller, CTO at ARM.

The Cambridge-based chip producer started work on the new 64-bit range in 2007, removing the last practical barrier required to try to gain a share of the desktop and server markets that make AMD and Intel an absolute fortune. It also opens up possibilities for 64-bit tablets and other portable devices to utilise more than 4GB of RAM. The company is said to be aiming it at everything from sensors to high-end servers.

"ARM is an important partner for Microsoft. The evolution of ARM to support a 64-bit architecture is a significant development for ARM and for the ARM ecosystem. We look forward to witnessing this technology's potential to enhance future ARM-based solutions," said KD Hallman, a general manager for Microsoft.

ARM's 32-bit chips have dominated the smartphone and tablets market, but the company's plans to enter the PC and server marketplace is likely to be much more complex. The new architecture could possibly compete with AMD and Intel in respect to better performance vs. power consumption but it is very unlikely they will match up to the raw performance of Intel's market leading processors -- at least not initially.

Consumer and enterprise prototype systems based on the new ARMv8 architecture are expected in 2014.

ARM recently reported record third-quarter profits driven by huge demand for their Cortex range of chips, despite lower demand reported across the industry.




User Comments: 14

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lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

As of now, I can't think of a consumer device that would require 64-bit processors, much less use 4 GB of RAM. Until then, this falls in the "cool" category.

Difference with Windows was that Microsoft had already a capbale, consumable operating system that would greatly benefit from 64-bit; but as for moible, we're not quite there yet.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

lawfer said:

As of now, I can't think of a consumer device that would require 64-bit processors, much less use 4 GB of RAM. Until then, this falls in the "cool" category.

Difference with Windows was that Microsoft had already a capbale, consumable operating system that would greatly benefit from 64-bit; but as for moible, we're not quite there yet.

I use and need the 8GB in my laptop right now. I wouldn't even consider a new laptop that couldn't support more than 4 GB. Not only that, but ARM processors aren't limited to just the mobile sector i.e. NVIDIA's Project Denver. This falls into the "about time" category.

Also, this story falls into the "old news" category as it is at least five days old.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Wagan8r said:

lawfer said:

As of now, I can't think of a consumer device that would require 64-bit processors, much less use 4 GB of RAM. Until then, this falls in the "cool" category.

Difference with Windows was that Microsoft had already a capbale, consumable operating system that would greatly benefit from 64-bit; but as for moible, we're not quite there yet.

I use and need the 8GB in my laptop right now. I wouldn't even consider a new laptop that couldn't support more than 4 GB. Not only that, but ARM processors aren't limited to just the mobile sector i.e. NVIDIA's Project Denver. This falls into the "about time" category.

Also, this story falls into the "old news" category as it is at least five days old.

I was specifically talking about smartphones, not laptops, as it is clear there are 64-bit processors on laptops right now (which clearly contradicts what I said on my first comment, and therefore should have been obvious I wasn't referring to personal computers).

Last time I checked Project Denver targeted computers, not phones. Regardless, I don't see how that is relevant to my comment, as I never said it wouldn't be useful for computers.

yowanvista yowanvista said:

Now we need a 64-bit version of Android. :P

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

lawfer said:

I was specifically talking about smartphones, not laptops, as it is clear there are 64-bit processors on laptops right now (which clearly contradicts what I said on my first comment, and therefore should have been obvious I wasn't referring to personal computers).

Last time I checked Project Denver targeted computers, not phones. Regardless, I don't see how that is relevant to my comment, as I never said it wouldn't be useful for computers.

You said "consumer device"(s), which can be anything, and you also said "mobile", which laptops defitiely are. Specifically, I was saying that a 64bit ARM instruction set is not merely a "cool" vainity, but a necessary evolution. That's why I cited Project Denver, since ARM processors are not limited to only smartphones, tablets, or other such mobile devices. ARM processors will be running Windows 8, and I don't know about you, but I think 64bit Windows 8 on ARM to be a requirement.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Wagan8r said:

lawfer said:

I was specifically talking about smartphones, not laptops, as it is clear there are 64-bit processors on laptops right now (which clearly contradicts what I said on my first comment, and therefore should have been obvious I wasn't referring to personal computers).

Last time I checked Project Denver targeted computers, not phones. Regardless, I don't see how that is relevant to my comment, as I never said it wouldn't be useful for computers.

You said "consumer device"(s), which can be anything, and you also said "mobile", which laptops defitiely are. Specifically, I was saying that a 64bit ARM instruction set is not merely a "cool" vainity, but a necessary evolution. That's why I cited Project Denver, since ARM processors are not limited to only smartphones, tablets, or other such mobile devices. ARM processors will be running Windows 8, and I don't know about you, but I think 64bit Windows 8 on ARM to be a requirement.

First and foremost, you might not know this, but you are embarrassing yourself. I'll show you why.

First, even though I said the words "mobile", and "devices", that does not specifically include laptops. For two other reasons, but the first one is because of the context in which this article is based: ARM architecture. ARM processors are not used to power personal computers, but mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, media players, calculators, etc.

Second, project Denver is merely CPU + (Nvidia Tegra, maybe 'Logan' GPU on a SoC.That's about it. That due to this new architecture, the CPU is going to be 64-bit, does not, in any way, accelerate its development. So its not even "about time." It's nothing. Surely it is superior, but it in no way alters production for the better; to the contrary, it might slow it down if Nvidia plans to integrate Stark on it as part of the Denver project. Ultimately, however, all of that is about as irrelevant to this discussion as me talking about what I did when I woke up this morning.

Thirdly, did you read this part of my last comment?

"... as it is clear there are 64-bit processors on laptops right now (which clearly contradicts what I said on my first comment, and therefore should have been obvious I wasn't referring to personal computers)."

It's clear I couldn't have been talking about computers, since, in my very first comment, I specifically mentioned I didn't know any consumer device that would require 64-bit processors. Assuming you, say, didn't even know about what I said in both my first and second point of this comment, it's still blatantly obvious I wasn't referring to personal computers, as 64-bit processors are pretty much the norm nowadays, thus leaving, unambiguously, mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc.

I could apologize about not being specific, but I think you missing all of that is far worse. Now, have a good say sir.

Guest said:

First and foremost, you might not know, but you are embarrassing yourself. And I'll show you why.

First, even though I said the words "mobile", and "devices", that does not specifically include laptops. For two other reason, but the first one is because of the context in which this article is based: ARM architecture. ARM processors are not used to power personal computers, but mobile devices such as smartphones, media players, calculators, etc.

Second, project Denver is merely CPU + (Nvidia Tegra, maybe 'Logan') GPU on a SoC.That's about it. That due to this new architecture, the CPU is going to be 64-bit, does not, in any way, accelerate its development. So its not even "about time." It's nothing. Surely is superior, but it in no way alters production for the better; to the contrary, it might slow it down if Nvidia plans to integrate Stark on it as part of the Denver project. Ultimately, however, all of that is about as irrelevant to this discussion as me talking about what I did when I woke up this morning.

Thirdly, did you read this part of my last comment?

"... as it is clear there are 64-bit processors on laptops right now (which clearly contradicts what I said on my first comment, and therefore should have been obvious I wasn't referring to personal computers)."

It's clear I couldn't have been talking about computers, since, in my very first comment, I said I didn't know any consumer device that would require 64-bit processors. Assuming you, say, didn't even know about my first and second point, it's still blatantly obvious I wasn't referring to personal computers, as 64-bit processors are pretty much the norm nowadays, thus leaving, irrevocably, mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, etc.

I could apologize about not being specific, but I think you missing all of that is far worse. Now, have a good say sir.

lol I keep coming to this site and see this guy prtty much killing ppl with facts.. nice read. :D

Guest said:

"...capbale, consumable operating system that would greatly benefit from 64-bit; but as for moible..."

lawfer, you need to learn how to proof read before posting or retake 7th grade english.

herpaderp said:

Should we add the above comments to an (un)official list of people who've gotten lawfered?

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

"...capbale, consumable operating system that would greatly benefit from 64-bit; but as for moible..."

lawfer, you need to learn how to proof read before posting or retake 7th grade english.

I wrote that from my phone, one with which the susceptibility to error is often higher than desired. But here you go sir: Capable* and mobile.*

Hopefully me fixing these helps you sleep at night now.

Guest said:

Can you imagine? Run in a 64 bit version of Android? Full 4gb? That thing would fly. By that time Android 5 codenamed ice cream truck will be out lol

And also dude @wagan8r, don't even bother anymore lol

Guest said:

i can't wait to see what will power windows 8 devices. i wonder whether ios5 will still mop the floor with microsoft :)

yRaz yRaz said:

I thought lawfer was talking about smartphones....

Guest said:

Now that smartphones support HD/HDMI, they can play 2D/3D movies. Just one of the movies will be greater than 3 GB. Besides the kernel normally takes 1 to 2 GB of address space and the applications take the rest.

I was looking at an medical MRI on my old smartphone, but I was limited in size because of the lack of GPU power and the lack of memory. These two issues are being solved now.

Another thing is Artificial Intelligence applications/tools. They use a lot of memory and processing power, which will benefit from 64 bit environments and they will not require the web to work like some other assistant apps do. Currently at work, we use workstations/laptops with 24 GB to 160 GB+ of RAM, and have used systems with 400+ GB of RAM, and will use more if they were available.

Like they said, if you build it, they will use it...

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