ARM says it has absolutely no plans for a 128 bit processor

November 22, 2013

    android-logo-with-64-bitsIs it a bird? Is it a plane? No, its ARM’s new 128 bit processor. Like all good science-fiction the plot sounds feasible but actually, in the end, it is all make believe. So it is with ARM’s plans for a 128 bit processor. Rumors have been circulating this week because the Korea Herald wrote a piece about how an unnamed ARM official “predicted that a 128-bit processor could hit the market in the next two years.” But just to be sure the report added that the spokesperson “emphasized that it was just a possibility rather than a set plan.”

    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.

    ARM don’t often deny rumors and speculation but in this case Ian Drew, ARM’s Chief Marketing Officer and EVP for Business Development, has written a a stern denial to rebut the Korea Herald’s misguided piece. According to Ian, “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.”

    The only name mentioned in the Herald’s piece was that of Antonio Viana, ARM’s EVP for Global and Commercial Development, who was attending an ARM Technical Symposia to give a presentation on connectivity and mobility in the future. Ian Drew wrote that neither Antonio or any other ARM executive made the alleged comments. “Furthermore, comments attributed to any ARM executive including my colleague Antonio Viana that allegedly discuss any specific partner’s chip plans for the future or 128 bit development are inaccurate: no such comments have been made,” added Drew.

    Apple caught everyone off guard earlier this year when it announced the iPhone 5S with the 64-bit A7 processor. Since then many of the big names in Android have been rushing around trying to formulate a plan for Android devices with 64-bit CPUs. ARM actually announced its ARMv8-A architecture over two years ago and it is thought that Samsung will release devices with 64-bit SoCs during in 2014. Ian Drew again, “in the coming year I expect we will see increasing announcements of 64-bit solutions across mobile, networking and server markets.”

    64-bits is all you need

    ARM has launched a family of ARMv8-A architecture based processors that support 64-bit, and the first products based on these chips are coming to market.
    Ian Drew

    Unfortunately there is still some confusion among consumers about the benefits of 64-bits. When 64-bits came to PCs the big advantage touted by Intel and AMD was the ability to address more than 4 GB of RAM. And that is true but it isn’t the only benefit, in fact for mobile devices it hardly isn’t a benefit at all (at least not now). In fact huge amounts of memory in a mobile device might not be that close. The latest version of Android has been specifically designed to run in just 512 MB of RAM to boost the adoption of Android 4.x on lower end phones. The benefits of 64 bits for mobile devices are found elsewhere.

    Since 64-bit processors move data around in 8 byte chunks, internally and externally, operations related to graphics, I/O and Single Instruction, Multiple Data (SIMD) instructions gain significant speed increases. Also tasks like encryption see big speed boosts. According to benchmarks performed on Apple’s 64-bit ARM implementation, some operations are up to 68 percent faster on a 64-bit processor and performing AES encryption is 825% faster. However it is worth noting that some of these benefits are due to instruction level support for cryptography in the new ARMv8 architecture and not the move to 64-bit per se.

    Like the move from 16 bits to 32 bits, the move from 32 bits to 64 bits heralds a new era for mobile computing, some of it related to memory and most of it not. However it doesn’t look like there will be a move to 128 bits any time soon!!!

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    Comments

    • MasterMuffin

      Did anyone believe in this rumor seriously??

      • Mayoo

        I seriously believe in this rumor being bullsh*t

      • Shark Bait

        I sincerely Hope not. If some one told me Intel were making them for laptop I would tell them to get off the internet now!

        • MasterMuffin

          Yea everyone knows Intel is focusing its resources on making 256 bit Xeon processors for smart watches

          • Shark Bait

            Don’t even start me on smart watches. Why don’t you throw graphene in there too !

    • yama

      Why in the f”ng hell would we need 128bit proc?????

      • yama

        Its like putting a 10k display on a 5″ screen…i mean cmon ffs..

    • wat

      Until Apple do it for the lulz

    • peruci

      Good decision. No need to rush for 64-bit.
      Apple need 64-bit because they don’t have other thing to innovate.

      • On a Clear Day

        True. I bet it would be virtually, utterly, almost completely, totally impossible for anyone aside from a tech in a lab with a phone hooked up to all manner of techno testing wizardry to actually be able to note a discernable difference. As is so often with Apple – its more able hype and style than actual substance, relevance or value – any excuse in a storm to use the word “Revolutionary!”.

      • NeedName

        actually, the armv8 instruction set built into ARM’s 64-bit chips is the big deal. . . and it’ll be nice when it comes to Android. . .

      • Mozaik

        Wow some people just make stupid assumption , just use effort to study or use google or wikipedia.

      • DSLINK

        Too bad Apple is focusing on 64bit CPU and not more “interesting” or “tangible” things that their target audience can see/touch/feel.

    • George Av

      they don’t need them now :D but in 2015-16 we will see one :)

      • Roberto Tomás

        voted you up. they won’t need one in 2015-2016 either, but yeah … I agree with you. :) It’ll come a bit earlier than necessary, the same as all tech.

        • George Av

          It will come. It’s that simple either apple makes one first or they do.

    • Groud Frank

      16 exabytes of RAM isn’t enough huh? Fair enough.

      • jackabood

        clearly you didn’t read the article

        the second part addresses that

        • Groud Frank

          Sarcasm bro.. Sarcasm..

    • Roberto Tomás

      hey, do you have the link to that Korean Herald article?

    • Hoggles

      I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again…. Skip 128…go straight for 256.

    • Dusan

      Right. Stationary computers don’t even have that. Don’t expect 128 bit mobile CPU until 2020 or something.

    • jlninja

      I don’t even see a need for 64 bit. It’s only a phone, not a computer.

    • serg

      i think that 64 bit computing needs a faster memory bandwith like servers need ultrafast drives

    • Matt

      “Apple caught everyone off guard earlier this year when it announced the iPhone 5S with the 64-bit A7 processor. Since then many of the big names in Android have been rushing around trying to formulate a plan for Android devices with 64-bit CPUs. ”

      Both of those sentences are hyperbolic and erroneous. Not everyone was caught “off guard” nor is anyone “rushing around trying to formulate a plan” for 64-bit Android. Just because you don’t have all of the information doesn’t mean Android on ARMv8 is half-baked or unexpected.

      “4 GB of RAM. And that is true but it isn’t the only benefit, in fact for mobile devices it hardly isn’t a benefit at all (at least not now).”

      Again, wrong. The wider instruction space allows for a simpler pipeline in most of the ARMv8 implementations. Also, the new NEON SIMD architecture is improved, the architecture has more registers, more flexibility in what those registers are used for and an expanded instruction set. GCC and LLVM auto vectorization for ARMv8 is coming along nicely. When people say “oh, 64-bit will only help if phones have more than 4GB of RAM”, they’ve completely misunderstood the underlying architecture.

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