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Apple has never been known as a chip designer, but it managed to become the world’s first company to launch a 64-bit ARMv8-compatible application processor last month. While Apple may not get a lot of immediate direct benefits from the new chip design, it will get a number of indirect advantages. Nonetheless, a high-ranking executive from Qualcomm, the world’s leading supplier of mobile app processors, claims that the 64-bit is just a marketing gimmick.

“I know there is a lot of noise because Apple did [64-bit] on their A7. I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There is zero benefit a consumer gets from that. A benefit of 64-bit is more memory addressability, but that is not relevant in today's smartphones or tablets. The iPhone 5s has only 1GB of DRAM,” said said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Qualcomm, in an interview with IDG Connect web-site.

Apple A7 system-on-chip that features two custom-designed 64-bit general-purpose processing cores compatible with ARMv8 architecture, powerful Imagination PowerVR series 6 “Rogue” graphics engine with OpenGL ES 3.0 support, 1MB of L2 cache and so on. The chip contains over a billion of transistors and is believed to be made by Samsung Semiconductor using 28nm process technology. Even if the software does not take advantage of 64-bit registers of Apple A7, the chip itself is the fastest dual-core application processors on the planet; moreover, it has the latest graphics processing unit from Imagination, which enables great visual effects in latest games.

“Predominantly, you need [64-bit] for memory addressability beyond 4GB. That is it. You do not really need it for performance, and the kinds of applications that 64-bit get used in mostly are large, server-class applications," said Mr. Chandrasekher, who previously ran Intel's mobile platforms group.

Although it remains to be seen which advantages 64-bit processing will bring to mobile devices, it is obvious that there will be some. Being on the forefront of transition to 64-bits, Apple will likely introduce certain interesting technologies for iPhone and iPad devices in the coming year. In addition, software makers, who already know how to benefit from 64-bits on personal computers, will likely introduce mobile versions of their programs for iOS operating system, bringing exclusive software to the platform.

Qualcomm, just like other designers of application processors, is developing its own system-on-chips featuring 64-bit ARM general-purpose cores. It is unknown when the company plans to roll them out to the market. It is also not clear whether Qualcomm plans to use Cortex-A53 or A57 cores designed by ARM, or develop its own ARMv8-compatible cores.

Tags: ARM, Apple, ARMv8, Qualcomm, Samsung, iOS, Snapdragon


Comments currently: 13
Discussion started: 10/05/13 04:51:11 AM
Latest comment: 10/09/13 04:05:27 PM
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"it is obvious that there will be some. Being on the forefront of transition to 64-bits, Apple will likely introduce certain interesting technologies for iPhone and iPad devices in the coming year."

There are exactly zero benefits to 64bit paths when the instructions are limited to 32bit, EXCEPT memory. The rest are just instructions that could have just as easily been made for 32bit systems in mind. Apple isn't expected to hit 4gb in a phone until 2016 or so, and ipad until next year at the earliest.
3 0 [Posted by: basroil  | Date: 10/05/13 04:51:11 AM]

show the post
1 4 [Posted by: mudi1  | Date: 10/05/13 07:04:02 AM]
- collapse thread

64 bit is 100% useless with less than 3.75 gigs of ram. Period. Jobs has to be rolling in his grave... Cook is pathetic
2 1 [Posted by: amdzorz  | Date: 10/06/13 03:56:39 AM]

show the post
0 4 [Posted by: tecknurd  | Date: 10/05/13 09:31:22 AM]
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Put the pipe down .. There in no such thing as a 64-bit IPaddress... Moron. All that ipv6 does is increase the range of IP addresses and has O to do with performance.

And 64 bits does not improve multimedia you idiot. It is for addressing memory beyond 3.75 gigs.

You use NEW registers that run optimized multi parralell instruction called macro-ops. BTW those are 8 and 16 bit ... And run 4x 16x. Faster depending on reuse and single pass processing.

This is apple being pathetic because holy jobs is dead
3 1 [Posted by: amdzorz  | Date: 10/06/13 04:00:05 AM]
Good explanation. You show us all why rotten apple is Deus Ex in your book.

ppps. Would you send me over a thousand bucks just that i could same experience of god as you did?
0 0 [Posted by: OmegaHuman  | Date: 10/06/13 02:57:30 PM]

Ipv6 is 128-bit not 64-bit, see Wikipedia (not that it's really relevant, Ipv4 and Ipv6 computations use masks most of the time which are not penalized much by smaller registers).

To get better multimedia processing you have to use new instructions (64-bit addressing can be implemented without 64-bit processing or specialized instructions).

Until Apple demonstrates multimedia libs that leverage 64-bit processing or new dedicated instructions (which for the most part could be made available without 64-bit addressing) there's no demonstrated advantage to "64-bit".

The 80x86 reference is weird, initially using 64-bit on x86 was often less efficient and slower than 32-bit (especially with Intel): using 64-bit addressing uses more memory for pointers which will slow down processing unless you gain performance with new instructions (AMD added new registers which did offset this problem on their implementation).
3 1 [Posted by: Lionel Bouton  | Date: 10/05/13 12:54:25 PM]
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Ipv6 is 128-bit not 64-bit, see Wikipedia (not that it's really relevant, Ipv4 and Ipv6 computations use masks most of the time which are not penalized much by smaller registers).

Exactly it's totally irrelevant nonsense for computer instructions POV. C'mon what's next they say that better USB transmission could be achieved with 64-bit CPU?? (I must admitt i didnt saw this pecularities with current PCs :lol
0 0 [Posted by: OmegaHuman  | Date: 10/06/13 02:54:22 PM]

C'mon. Dont shit sherlock. OFC it's a gimmick as they stay at same amount of RAM. So this gayphone5s generation wont see any advantages from it. But hey people which dont know what else to buy they still bought another gayphone.
3 1 [Posted by: OmegaHuman  | Date: 10/06/13 02:51:17 PM]
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Yeah, Apple does cater to the anal crowd.
2 2 [Posted by: fanboyslayer  | Date: 10/06/13 03:06:07 PM]

It's not entirely true that 64-bit architecture only enable memory expansion. Modern optimizing compilers have the ability to rearrange/combine several 32-bit source-level operations into fewer 64-bit machine-ops and thus save many clocks cycles. This is one of the reasons which accounts for the increased performance (up to 30%) in native 64-bit applications on 64-bit OS and hardware, especially in CPU-intensive applications like media encoding. It's also true that many 64-bit processors take a slight performance hit and are under-utilized when processing 32-bit code and data, which is not their native mode of op.
0 0 [Posted by: jasmith007  | Date: 10/08/13 12:19:26 AM]


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