ARM News

ARM introduce their next generation Architecture

with 5 comments

The moment that many of us have been waiting for has finally happened. ARM Holdings has officially announced their move to a 64-bit instruction set. Ever since the arrival of the ARM10, ARM has made noises about moving to 64-bit, but nothing concrete was ever disclosed. But today, the ARMv8 architecture has officially been announced.

ARM’s official press release does not go into key performance indicators that may give us a clue to the increase to performance and power consumption that is required by moving to 64-bit processing. It does however, state that the all technical details are available to partners under license.

The ARMv8 architecture will include the current 32-bit architecture as well as the newly introduced 64-bit architecture. They are named as AArch32 and AArch64 respectively. The current key features of the current ARMv7 architecture, including TrustZone, virtualization and NEON™ advanced SIMD, are maintained or extended in the ARMv8 architecture which finally see it move into enterprise market where larger access to data is required.

Unfortunately, no new processors based on the ARMv8 architecture were announced, but it is certain that a new high-end Cortex-A series processor will be announced during 2012. ARM also state that consumer and enterprise prototype systems are expected in 2014 which means that end-products or systems based on the ARMv8 architecture will be available until 2016 at the very earliest.

Major partners in the ARM ecosystem such as Microsoft and Nvidia congratulated the move to 64-bit and recognised the magnitude of the transition of bringing the energy-efficient ARM to new high-end servers and computing as well as offering backwards compatibility.

We believe this could be the most significant announcement ARM has ever made. The move to 64-bit finally allows ARM and their partners to move into new territories that were closed to them. We are incredibly excited at the prospect of ARM continuing to move up the value chain into high-end servers and super-computers.

ARM’s share price on NASDAQ is currently up 9.13% to $30.25 after this announcement.

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Written by ARMnews

October 27, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Posted in News

Tagged with , , , , , ,

5 Responses

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  1. ARM has not moved away from 32 bits, which will remain its core business as the Internet of things develops. There will be billions of 32 bit ARM CPUs sold each year compared to, perhaps, millions of 64 bit ARM CPUs for some time to come. It will be a very long time before it is sensible to move the Cortex M range to 64 bits.

    The new architecture is intended for ‘high end’ applications which need a large memory space, but otherwise, I don’t expect huge performance increases because the 32 bit ARM is already optimised for most 64 bit data. That said, I anticipate the 64 bit architecture to make it’s way into the top end of the mobile space, but not as far down as smart phones where low power is the priority.

    The recently announced Cortex A7, the Tegra3 companion core (so called ‘dark silicon’) and the individual power plane per core in the Krait SOC demonstrate the importance of low power in this market. That said, Intel has just announced a forthcoming SOC for tablets with a TDP of less than 10W. Surely that’s a typo; a tablet battery would only power that for a two hours.

    Les

    November 13, 2011 at 8:32 am

    • Absolutely. The 32 bit ARM ISA will continue to be developed for many years to come. It will be a very long time before the need for the Micro controller market will require 64 bits.

      We look forward to many more 32-bit ARM processors over the coming years that will further cement ARM as the architecture for the digital world.

      As for Intel, even if they do manage to get their power consumption down to required levels, they still have to persuade mobile manufacturers to use their processors. Given the tiny margins that PC manufacturers have, it will be very unlikely that many will want Intel to try and do the same to mobile market. Of course, some will use Intel but, they will never fully switch from ARM to Intel.

      ARMnews

      November 13, 2011 at 10:01 am

  2. The first ARM V8 processor, announced at the same time as V8 itself is the Applied Micro ‘Xgene’ processor, already synthesised in FPGA.

    While the V8 press release didn’t provide any key performance indicators, the Technical Presentation did give enough information to show the potential of the new platform. The 32bit platform has, in some ways, been hampered by legacy compiler constraints, such as the ‘soft float’ protocol. Such legacy protocols must be rewritten to match the new architecture if software is to achieve its true potential. The Aarch 64 and Aarch 32 programming models are very different, and the old 32 bit compiler protocols may not be optimal for the Aarch 64 state.

    You can learn more about Xgene and about the V8 technical presentation over at http://www.armdevices.net

    Les

    November 13, 2011 at 9:15 am

    • Certain comments from Applied Micro suggest a processor that is 2 – 3x faster than a Intel Xeon processor.

      Nvidia will talk about their forthcoming 64-bit ARM processors in 2012. And we are sure that other ARM partners will also talk more openly after ARM announce their first ARM 64-bit processor.

      ARMnews

      November 13, 2011 at 10:06 am

      • One thing both Applied Micro’s and Nvidia’s chips will have in common is the ISA. The new architecture has a huge register file, which allows certain common tasks to be optimised. For example, jpeg and mpeg processing relies on a task called ‘fast Fourier transform’ on an 8×8 pixel array. The ARM V8 register file is large enough to hold and manipulate the whole array. That enables real time video editing, and fast photo processing.

        Les

        November 16, 2011 at 6:54 am


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