ARM Goes 64-bit: Cortex-A50 Surfaces, to Target Everything From Server to Phones
October 31, 2012 11:14 AM
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Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (
) announced on Monday that it would be releasing
new 64-bit Opterons
in 2014 leveraging a radically different architecture to its current complex instruction set computer (CISC) x86 architecture -- ARM Holdings plc's (LON:ARM) reduced instruction set computer (RISC) ARM architecture.
At the tiime AMD mentioned in passing that the chips were 64-bit. That led to a bit of mystery, as ARM had not officially
a 64-bit intellectual property core yet, although one was widely rumored.
That mystery was laid to rest yesterday when ARM Holdings
a new intellectual property core -- the Cortex-A50 -- a core which leverage ARM's previously announced
ARMv8 64-bit instruction set extensions
The chips will tackle the full range of applications -- everything from smartphones to servers. It is the linear successor to the 32-bit
ARM Holdings has announced several Cortex-A50 cores geared at different objectives. The ARM Cortex-A53 will be the most power-efficent ARM processor, and the world's "smallest" (according to ARM) 64-bit processor. ARM pledges that the mobile-geared Cortex-A53 will offer "three times the performance" of current generation smartphone chips.
A second core, the ARM Cortex-A57, is a more powerful 64-bit core, aimed at "high-performance applications", such as heavily threaded server workloads.
Server chip makers Calxeda (pictured) are among Cortex-A50's early adopters.
Wonder who is cooking up 64-bit ARM cores? ARM disclosed that its initial licensee list indeed includes AMD. Also on the list are Broadcom Corp. (
) Calxeda (Hewlett-Packard Comp.'s (
server chip partner
, actually an ARM Holdings startup subsidiary), HiSilicon Technologies Comp., Ltd., Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
), and STMicroelectronics N.V. (
ARM says the new cores should ship in 2014. The ARMv8 instruction set, though, is currently available for advanced developers and device implementers to start tinkering with. Usually there's about a half year of lag time between the IP core announcement and the time when official speed and core count targets
begin to trickle out
from licensees: so chip buffs, stay tuned.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
10/31/2012 9:55:58 PM
Yes, the x86 market will eventually go to just compute intensive work. Eventually even things like Photoshop or video transcoding will go to tablets. Desktops and laptops will vanish except for a niche of professionals who absolutely require them to do compute intensive work.
Yes, a large fraction of users don't do anything compute intensive today. Quicken (or MYOB or whatever) or social media don't take much. But a lot of people like to convert their photos (point and shoot or prosumer) to formats that are more distributable. Today's tablets are barely able to do that without a significant lag. Upload RAW format images (and yes, a lot of people go on the 'net and read that they should ONLY shoot in RAW and do so without understanding what it really means) from their Nikon or Cannon prosumer device to a tablet then convert it to a more manageable image and it's not so trivial. For the next few years it's going to be much, much easier on a desktop or laptop. And with the ever increasing pixel count of prosumer cameras, as well as bit depth of each pixel, the tablets are chasing a moving target.
Eventually tablets, and to a lesser extent smart phones will win out. However, tablets and phones replacing desktops and laptops won't happen for at least 10 years or more. It could even be 15 years or more.
The processing power of a current high end Xeon chip or current top end i7 is so much higher than anything ARM is currently putting out -- or even has planned in the next couple years -- that the difference is going to insurmountable for many, many years. Add to that the highest end GPUs in ganged modes (running 2 or 3 or 4 GPUs in the same desktop) and you've got machines that that ARM based hardware just fantasizes about being when they grow up.
10/31/2012 10:41:28 PM
You say "eventually" yet even the top of the line consumer CPUs struggle depending on software, even in photoshop editing. One of the reasons why adobe added OCL to their software suite.
I find it sort of confusing how people can claim ARM will dominate so soon when the chips are so slow. Ask someone if they want a dual core atom and they'll say it's much too slow, but dual core krait would have people drooling even though they're similar in performance. People seem to think that the benchmark for high CPU performance is web browsing on a cellphone.
"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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