ARM Goes 64-bit: Cortex-A50 Surfaces, to Target Everything From Server to Phones
October 31, 2012 11:14 AM
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.
"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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