Saturday, October 29th 2011

ARM Going 64-Bit To Compete In High-End Desktop Market

Judging by their latest press release, ARM Ltd really is serious about competing with Intel and AMD in the high-end desktop and server computing market, where competition is fierce. For years, ARM had said that there was no need to extend their architecture to 64-bit yet. However, it appears that the time has now come for this to happen, as ARM has announced its new ARMv8 architecture, the first to include a 64-bit instruction set, at ARM TechCon 2011 in Santa Clara, California. ARM CTO Mike Muller said:
ARMv8 will enable the development of ARM architecture compatible devices that can be designed to maximize the benefits across both 32-bit and 64-bit application areas. This will bring the advantages of energy-efficient 64-bit computing to new applications such as high-end servers and computing, as well as offering backwards compatibility and migration for existing software through a consistent architecture.

Muller also explained that the ARMv8 architecture will have 32- and 64-bit modes, much like today's x86/x64 CPU's which should ease transition into the 64-bit world for existing applications. The 32-bit mode is called AArch32 and the 64-bit mode AArch64. Key features of the existing ARMv7 instruction set will also be kept, as would be expected. Some of these features are: TrustZone, virtualization and NEON advanced SIMD, which will be either maintained or extended, as appropriate.

Put this together with Microsoft's endorsement of the ARM architecture and the fact that Windows 8 will run natively on it, ARM has a significant shot at the big time on the desktop. Microsoft exec KD Hallman, said:
ARM is an important partner for Microsoft. The evolution of ARM to support a 64-bit architecture is a significant development for ARM and for the ARM ecosystem.
Other big industry players are interested in this too such as NVIDIA, who are currently selling their Tegra ARM-based line of products. NVIDIAs Dan Vivoli said:
The combination of Nvidia's leadership in energy-efficient, high-performance processing and the new ARMv8 architecture will enable game-shifting breakthroughs in devices across the full range of computing - from smartphones through to supercomputers.
Naturally, the two players who are most definitely not interested in this development are Intel and AMD, who have their businesses firmly rooted in the x86/x64 line of processors and competing against each other, so it remains to be seen what kind of competition they will bring to ARM desktop processors. Also, given the litigious nature of this high stakes industry and considering the recently settled spat between Intel and AMD, one wonders what lawsuits will be flying ARM's way from one or both of these companies.

Intel did actually buy the rights to make ARM processors several years ago and for a while sold products under their XScale brand, before eventually selling the business to Marvell. One wonders why Intel didn't start a transition to the efficient ARM architecture along with the processor-agnostic Microsoft years ago? This would have left the cumbersome x86 architecture, released way back in the 1970's, as the museum piece it should be. Apple proved this sort of transition was possible by their very successful switch from PowerPC to x86 in 2006. So, will the decision not to go down the ARM route now come back to byte Intel? ARMv8-based products are expected to be announced in 2012, with prototypes in 2014, so dominance of x86 will not be threatened for the next few years.

ARM Ltd is a British computer company that was spun off as the processor division of Acorn Computers in 1990. While Acorn (the company which made the BBC Micro, Archimedes and Risc PC computers) didn’t do so well (it had a habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory) got unceremoniously taken apart at the start of the century and eventually become subsumed into Broadcom, the elegant and efficient ARM RISC processor design they created in the mid 1980's has become by far the most dominant force in virtually every embedded application, especially mobile phones and other portable devices, due to its massive market share. It's therefore not so surprising that this architecture is starting to go head to head with the most widely used architecture on the planet, Intel's x86 (and x64 by extension) in the lucrative desktop processor market.

So, will ARM eventually dethrone formidable foe Intel as top dog? The next decade will tell.
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56 Comments on ARM Going 64-Bit To Compete In High-End Desktop Market

#1
suraswami
If ARM really comes up with an awesome CPU, then most probably we will have 2 CPU companies and 2 Graphic card companies.
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#2
NC37
by: Thefumigator
Do people think ARM is a thread to Intel AMD or whatever, just because its architecture is widely used in almost every mobile device in existence?

IMO there will always be AMD, Intel, X86 and PC. If ARM wants to play in that field they should demo X264 encoding doing it faster than a Core i3 to say the least.

Imposible some may say. I wouldn't use Imposible as the proper word, "though" would be the right one and I don't think ARM could make AMD sweat, nor even talking about the trans-national megamonster that is Intel.
No there won't always be x86. As times change and tech changes, we'll see them changing eventually too. Same with RISC. It won't be around forever either, despite it being a better design than CISC.

RISC has been a better design all these years. Apple switched to it and worked to make it a success for years, but the reason they couldn't make a go of it at the time was they didn't have the market share or backing to push it through with x86 going strong. Add to that the RISC manufacturers were also constantly letting them down, and they finally had to switch back to a less efficient, but more popular, design. IBM/Motorola...both held RISC back by keeping it in selective markets or just plain letting designs stagnate. Not keeping up with promises either and delivering sub par performance.

If Intel and AMD move to RISC designs, then we'll see a change. But of the two, I would not expect Intel to switch first. It'll be AMD. Intel has traditionally been slow at adopting big changes like this. 64bit, multiple cores, APU level tech...all things Intel has lagged behind in. Intel is like a massive semi, great and powerful once moving but hard to stop and change course once it is going.

I can see Apple going back to RISC. But it won't get the fanfare of the switch to x86. I think it'll start with iPad and such like that then eventually as ARM gets more buzz, we'll have AMD bringing it in as either server or with APU tech. Intel will then push performance of x86 farther in an attempt to buy time for their own version to come out. Eventually they'll change over too and retake the lead.
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#3
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
by: suraswami
If ARM really comes up with an awesome CPU, then most probably we will have 2 CPU companies and 2 Graphic card companies.
Depends just how awesome...

AMD's APU's are really awesome. thats the only real positive thing about AMD at the moment. they can make a great Medium to low range CPU.

Id say their graphics are awesome too but the HD6xxx series wasnt a huge jump beyond the HD5xxx series. and the HD6xxx HATES MSAA. I was hoping a driver update would fix the overall performance, but its not a laughing matter when a GTX570 performs upto 15% better then a 6970 in almost all tests and benchmarks where MSAA is involved.


I still think there will be 3 or 4 CPU Companies.....

#1 Intel (no suprise there)

#2 AMD (Underdog)

#3 Via (even if they have such a small market share and have a habit of keeping their products below the radar - they are still a contender. I think their Nano's are targetting the Atom market. but competition is fearce)

#4 ARM - If they can really come up with a kick ass desktop CPU
Posted on Reply
#4
3volvedcombat
TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you read any of the Intel new's briefs on TPU this is EXACTLY WHAT I PREDICITED.

everybody else "these are parallel markets volved!!!, there is no need to worry." "They will never merge, ARM processors are in there own category."

I knew it :cool:, and this is the start of some NEW tech :D

:cool: :cool: Told you so ;)

I had a feeling, especially with the growing popularity and performance increases.
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#5
xenocide
I honestly don't anticipate them being a threat in the market for a couple years to come, if at all.
Posted on Reply
#6
theoneandonlymrk
press statement regarding Arms 64bit archetecture hope it dosnt offend, the grippage

ARM disclosed technical details of its new ARMv8 architecture, the first ARM architecture to include a 64-bit instruction set. ARMv8 broadens the ARM architecture to embrace 64-bit processing and extends virtual addressing, building on the rich heritage of the 32-bit ARMv7 architecture upon which market leading cores such as the Cortex-A9 and Cortex-A15 processors are built.

The ARM architecture is unique in its ability to span the full range of electronic devices and equipment, from tiny sensors through to large scale infrastructure equipment. Building on the industry standard 32-bit ARM architecture, the new ARMv8 architecture will expand the reach of ARM processor-based solutions into consumer and enterprise applications where extended virtual addressing and 64-bit data processing are required.

The ARMv8 architecture consists of two main execution states, AArch64 and AArch32. The AArch64 execution state introduces a new instruction set, A64 for 64-bit processing. The AArch32 state supports the existing ARM instruction set. The key features of the current ARMv7 architecture, including TrustZone, virtualization and NEON advanced SIMD, are maintained or extended in the ARMv8 architecture.

“With our increasingly connected world, the market for 32-bit processing continues to expand and evolve creating new opportunities for 32-bit ARMv7 based processors in embedded, real-time and open application platforms.” said Mike Muller, CTO, ARM. “We believe the ARMv8 architecture is ideally suited to enable the ARM partnership to continue to grow in 32-bit application spaces and bring diverse, innovative and energy-efficient solutions to 64-bit processing markets.”

In support of the introduction of the ARMv8 architecture, ARM is working to ensure a robust design ecosystem to support the 64-bit instruction set. The ARM compiler and Fast Models with ARMv8 support have already been made available to key ecosystem partners. Initial support for a range of open source operating systems, applications and third-party tools is already in development. Working together the ARM partnership is collaborating to accelerate development of a 64-bit ecosystem, in many cases as a natural extension to the broad ecosystem in place to support ARMv7 based devices in the market today.

"ARM is an important partner for Microsoft," said KD Hallman, general manager, Microsoft Corp. "The evolution of ARM to support a 64-bit architecture is a significant development for ARM and for the ARM ecosystem. We look forward to witnessing this technology's potential to enhance future ARM-based solutions."

“The combination of Nvidia’s leadership in energy-efficient, high-performance processing and the new ARMv8 architecture will enable game-shifting breakthroughs in devices across the full range of computing – from smartphones through to supercomputers,” said Dan Vivoli, senior vice president, Nvidia.

“The current growth trajectory of data centers, driven by the viral explosion of social media and cloud computing, will continue to accelerate. The ability to handle this data increase with energy-efficient solutions is vital,” said Vinay Ravuri, vice president and general manager of AppliedMicro’s Processor Business Unit. “The ARM 64-bit architecture provides the right balance of performance, efficiency and cost to scale to meet these growing demands and we are very excited to be a leading partner in implementing solutions based on the ARMv8 architecture.”

The ARMv8 architecture will enable the development of ARM architecture compatible devices that can be designed to maximize the benefits across both 32-bit and 64-bit application areas. This will bring the advantages of energy-efficient 64-bit computing to new applications such as high-end servers and computing, as well as offering backwards compatibility and migration for existing software through a consistent architecture.

The ARMv8 architecture specifications describing all aspects of the ARMv8 architecture are available now to partners under license. ARM will disclose processors based on ARMv8 during 2012, with consumer and enterprise prototype systems expected in 2014.

is their some sneeky gremlin in the sys painting Arm's red



extracted from here
http://www.ngohq.com/news/20763-arm-details-armv8-64-bit-architecture.html#ixzz1cNhtI4Cu
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