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64-bit microprocessors currently dominate the markets of desktops, notebook and servers; moreover, they are about to enter ultra-mobile space, including smartphones and tablets. With the widespread availability of 64-bit central processing units, maybe it is time to think about 128-bit chips? Not quite, believe executives from ARM Holdings. 64-bits will be enough for a long time.

A news-paper recently published a story claiming that ARM Holdings, which develops micro-processing technologies for mobile devices, has begun development of 128-bit processing architecture. ARM and its partners are only beginning to roll-out 64-bit application processors for mobile devices based on ARMv8-A micro-architecture. In the coming years everyone in the ARM camp will try to improve their 64-bit offerings, not introduce all-new 128-bit CPUs that will not be needed for years to come.

“News reports have suggested that ARM is developing 128-bit processor technology: this is not true. 64-bit processors are capable of supporting the needs of the computing industry now and for many years to come. There are absolutely no plans underway for 128 bit ARM-based chips because they simply aren’t needed. Rumors to the contrary are simply incorrect,” said Ian Drew, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of ARM.

While many modern microprocessors, including those based on ARM architecture, can feature 128-bit multimedia instructions (128-bit vector registers are used to store several smaller numbers, such as four 32-bit floating-point numbers.) or 128-bit memory access, there will be no general-purpose processors built to operate on 128-bit integers or addresses in the foreseeable future.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for the ARM ecosystem, with leading solutions from ARM partners taking computing to the next level. […] ARM leads the way with our 32-bit CPUs supporting a range of power and performance points, including solutions using our Big.Little technology.  These will be in about 10 billion chips sold in 2013 and will continue to grow for a very long time into the future. […] In the coming year I expect we will see increasing announcements of 64-bit solutions across mobile, networking and server markets,” said Mr. Drew.

 

Tags: ARM, ARMv8, ARMv8-A, Cortex, 64-bit, 128-bit

Discussion

Comments currently: 10
Discussion started: 11/26/13 09:29:38 PM
Latest comment: 11/29/13 12:21:53 AM
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1. 
"64-Bit Processors Will Be Enough for Many Years to Come"
Even 64-Bit Processors Will Be Too Much for Many Years to Come. FTFY. You're welcome.
1 3 [Posted by: FF22  | Date: 11/26/13 09:29:38 PM]
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2. 
I wanted a 128bit OS and Processor a decade ago. WHAT THE FRIG IS THE HOLD UP?!?!??! 64bit is so 1996!! They've "technically" had 128bit OS/Processors in the early 2000s but nothing for the masses. BAH! Hurry the frack UP!!!!!!
0 0 [Posted by: thudo  | Date: 11/27/13 09:01:10 AM]
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You Sir, are a nOOb.

I used to be a nOOb too so let me briefly help you.

The 'bit' of a CPU architecture and O/S simply refers to it's ability to address larger amounts of RAM in your PC.

This is different to the Memory Controller typically located on a CPU/APU these days that defines how much bandwidth the CPU/APU has to access that memory. They too are defined in bits and typically over the past ten years or so have come as 128-bit. Some Intel CPU's now have 256-bit Memory Controllers.
1 1 [Posted by: JBG  | Date: 11/27/13 03:44:13 PM]
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And you Sir, show yourself to be completely lacking in your knoledege of the fundamentals of computer architecture! CPU "bit" size has always been measured on the maximum width, in Bits, of the general purpose CPU data/instruction registers, and to a lesser degree the width of the DATA bus! This CPU bit size has nuthing to do with the amount of memory a CPU can address, as that function is carried out by the Address bus, and the size of the address bus determines how much memory a CPU can directly address! The 256 bit memory controller is just for the quad channel memory, the intel processor still uses 32/64 bit general purpose (non AVX) registers for the majority of its op codes! Some CPUs can have a larger than 64 bit internal data BUS to internal cache memory and other internal computational/data units, but the basic Instruction size remains 32/64 bit! There was, in the past, some Addressing issues tied to the maximum Data width and the CPUs ability to execute long jumps using immediate cpu instructions that held addresses/offsets as part of the op code/immediate address/jump data, but that limitation has all but dissappeared with appearence 32 and 64 bit processors! GPUs have up 512 bit internal/external data bus connections to GDDDR memory on the GPU PCI cards, as well as AMDs CPU/GPU, fat data bus(128 bit?) to memory, Console gaming APUs for the Xbox One, and PS4.
0 0 [Posted by: BigChiefRunAmok  | Date: 11/28/13 04:59:12 PM]
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3. 
Right... and? How does that remotely diminish the fact we need 128bit verses the need to have 64bit over 32bit? Does not current processors not support 128bit OSes natively? I have assumed they do not.
0 0 [Posted by: thudo  | Date: 11/27/13 10:41:20 PM]
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Computers just don't need 3.4GB x 10^29 RAM which is all 128-bit is good for.

32-bit is limited to 4GB RAM and hence 64-bit necessary as even gaming consoles now use more RAM.
1 0 [Posted by: JBG  | Date: 11/28/13 02:40:17 AM]
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4. 
Thats what they said about 640kb being enough for everyone.

Is there not more to x64 verses x86 then removing the ram limitation? Having more available ram is NOT the only benefit from increasing to 128bit <- 64bit <- x86.
0 0 [Posted by: thudo  | Date: 11/28/13 10:54:43 AM]
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BigChief is right. Gosh that's disappointing. I career changed away from IT five years ago. Disappointing how quick knowledge can fade from the mind.

*sighs* nOObification is taking hold. lol

CPU designers these days must see overall greater benefits in producing multi-core CPU designs with greater and greater number of cores, with each individual core limited to the specified bit design (e.g. 64bit). Verses the need to again revolutionize the instruction set to 128-bit.
0 0 [Posted by: JBG  | Date: 11/28/13 07:07:05 PM]
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Haswell AVX2 works on 256 bit values, but Haswell's external data bus is only 64 bits wide, Intel could if they wanted to produce a 64 bit variant with a larger than 64 bit external data bus, but the motherboard would require more bus circut traces, and Intel would have to design a new motherboard chipset! It would be very costly for the added bandwidth, and the motherboard makers and computer OEMs would not go for it! It would be cheeper to clock the memory at a higher bandwidth, or add more memory channels, or go to faster DDR4 memory with point-to-point topology and not have, the seperate motherboard DIMM channels. There is plenty of room to add more instructions with 64 bits, and the only reason to go wider for more data lanes is more bit transfers per memory cycle! Having wider than 64 bit instructions does not necessarily equate to revolutionary improvments. Having an address bus larger than 32 bits is not needed as 32 bits will directly adderss 4,294,967,296 bytes of memory, and single programs/code blocks are rarely larger than a small fraction of that size. Its better to have more/faster CPU cores, and faster memory, and CPUs with more PCIe 3.0 lanes. Modern CPUs with virtual memory hardware can address multiple Address blocks of 4,294,967,296 bytes and trillions of bytes of memory, RAM and virtual.
0 0 [Posted by: BigChiefRunAmok  | Date: 11/29/13 12:21:53 AM]
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