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ARM Goes 64-Bit With Its New ARMv8 Chip Architecture

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the new-and-improved dept.

Hardware 156

angry tapir writes "In less than a decade, a microprocessor core could be no bigger than a red blood cell, the CTO of ARM has predicted. ARM has already helped develop a prototype, implantable device for monitoring eye-pressure in glaucoma patients that measures just 1 cubic millimeter, CTO Mike Muller said at ARM's TechCon conference. At the conference the company also introduced its first 64-bit chip. The ARMv8 adds 64-bit addressing capabilities, an improvement over the current ARMv7-A architecture, which is capable of up to 40-bit addressing. The architecture puts ARM into more direct competition with Intel and its 64-bit Xeon processors."

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156 comments

A CPU embedded in my genitals? Yes, please! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37867164)

I would absolutely love to have CPUs embedded in my genitals. That way I could mine some Bitcoins even while taking a piss.

Re:A CPU embedded in my genitals? Yes, please! (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867698)

I would absolutely love to have CPUs embedded in my genitals. That way I could mine some Bitcoins even while taking a piss.

And as an added bonus the heat given off will pretty much ensure you don't have kids.

Re:A CPU embedded in my genitals? Yes, please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37868066)

This should be modded up to infinity.

Re:A CPU embedded in my genitals? Yes, please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37867946)

But even at 1 cubic millimeter the chip is larger than your dick.

fucking finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37867176)

god damn x86.

Standardized boot process (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867604)

At least "god damn x86" has a standardized boot process, be it BIOS or EFI. Let me know when more than one make and model of ARM computer can boot from the same memory card.

Re:Standardized boot process (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867934)

Alas, UEFI and ACPI are being ported to Arm. Most probably to let unmodified Windows 8 binaries run on different Arm boards (and to make Linux run awfully on them </sarcasm>).

Re:Standardized boot process (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868448)

Boot process is not a feature of the CPU architecture. Boot process is a feature of the motherboard that the CPU is on or the SOC that the CPU lives inside of.

I have an x86 machine that will not boot anything PC-like (a rather old Garmin handheld with an embedded 80386). The lack of a BIOS is more of a reflection that ARM is typically in embedded systems, not that you can't make a standard BIOS for one.

Re:Standardized boot process (1)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868674)

I don't think that the OP was suggesting that they can't make one. He was saying that they don't have one, yet.

Intel didn't invent BIOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37869552)

IBM invented the PC BIOS. put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Re:Intel didn't invent BIOS (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869736)

Which changes nothing. Please allow me to rephrase: At least one major computer maker invented a widely adopted standardized boot process for "god damn x86". This hasn't yet happened for ARM.

Architecture (5, Informative)

ice3 (1305003) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867178)

Here's a better description of the new Architecture:

ARMv8 Architecture PDF [arm.com]

Re:Architecture (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867248)

Has anybody benchmarked ARM vs Intel already? I mean in some standard test like SuperPI? How do these cores compare speed/Watt?

Re:Architecture (2)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867904)

FWIW, I have a Motorola Xoom with a Tegra2 clocked at 1.4 GHz with Ubuntu running in a chroot. I also have an Acer Aspire One with an N270 processor at 1.6 GHz. On every commandline benchmark I've done, the Xoom edges it out. My understanding is that anything involving an FPU, the Atom would come out on top but in my experience, the Xoom is very much on par with the Aspire in day to day use.

Re:Architecture (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868338)

Processor : Feroceon 88FR131 rev 1 (v5l)
BogoMIPS : 1192.75
Features : swp half thumb fastmult edsp
CPU implementer : 0x56
CPU architecture: 5TE
CPU variant : 0x2
CPU part : 0x131
CPU revision : 1

Hardware : Marvell GuruPlug Reference Board

Re:Architecture (2)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869116)

New ARMs do have a FPU. Efficiently making use of it, though, requires an ABI change. Ubuntu still uses armel rather than armhf. It's not yet in the official Debian archive yet, too -- but you can already try the candidate in a chroot. Not surprisingly, floating point benchmarks get a massive improvement.

BS (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37867202)

> "The architecture puts ARM into more direct competition with Intel and its 64-bit Xeon processors."

Who is writing and editing this BS? It is not in any way putting ARM in competition with Xeon CPUs. It is becoming a serious contender for low end CPUs: Atom, Pentium, Athlon, and it is getting more interesting for streaming and massive threading applications (like the SPARC T).

Re:BS (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37867306)

In other news, Toyota is now offering the Prius in a two door variant. This design puts the Prius into more direct competition with Ferrari and it's two door sports cars.

Re:BS (1)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867912)

Who is writing

Well, if you look at submitter's name link you'll see "http://www.techworld.com.au/", which just happens to be where the summary links to.

and editing this BS?

Why that would be one of the crack Slashdot "editing" staff, who are more than happy to link to subby's techrag clickbait (probably collecting a fee for Geek.net).

Re:BS (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868308)

And if ARM is currently 40-bit, that means their address space limit is 1 TB - which is plenty for all but really high end servers anyway. The difference between 40 bit and 64 bit is probably not relevant for most consumer and server applications anyway, especially since port from x86_64 to ARM is a lot of work regardless of whether ARM is 40 or 64 bit.

I'm hoping ARM chips are performance-competitive with x86_64 chips within a decade just because AMD is having problems, and giving Intel an effective monopoly on high end processors will probably lead to unnecessarily high prices.

Re:BS (1)

Talennor (612270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869188)

I won't argue that 40 isn't a lot of bits. But frequently bits are used for different purposes than part of addressing memory locations. Especially in the microcontroller world.

Re:BS (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869908)

ARM isn't a microcontroller. A microcontroller is something with 1K RAM and 16K flash, and a set of pins useful for talking to external devices, like a serial port, digital outputs with PWM and integrated AD converters.

ARM is a low power CPU and if they're smart they'll do like x86 and require the unused bits to be all set to 1 or 0 so that they can't be repurposed.

Re:BS (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869156)

Core-to-core performance? Obviously, Xeon beats ARM lower than dirt. Watt-to-watt performance? Xeon gets thrashed.

Re:BS (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37870168)

Think of it like this, ARM is small and lean on power. You could pack dozens of cores onto a die giving it the power to compete with the Xeon. Blade servers can be shrunk down and more can fit into a single U of rack space since ARM does not dissipate tens of watts. We might see something along the lines of servers that are nothing more than a mini cluster in a box that appear as one whole system. A prepackaged beowulf cluster if you will.

There was an interesting video I saw a while back of a researcher who packed 196 of those ARM gumstix modules into a case not much bigger than a tower PC with no forced cooling. I cant find the video but here is a link to information about the cluster:

http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/News/Sandia-StrongBox-and-Gumstix-Stagecoach/ [linuxfordevices.com]

Keep going (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37867206)

128bit and 256bit next, as long as it's 32bit backward compatible, why stop?

(Not for the RAM size's sake, but for performance)
Transmeta did something similar, so why not.

Law of diminishing returns (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868694)

Doubling the size of the registers requires a LOT of work internally to a CPU and is not done lightly - thats why 32bit held on for so long in the consumer world. Also there are 2 (main) types of bit measurement - address bus size and data bus size. An increase to 128 or more for the data bus size may be useful for some applications and that has already been done in some areas - eg graphics cards - but increasing the address bus size to 128 bits will bring no conceivable benefits as we're still a long way off being able to manufacture memory chips that can even approach the 2^64 bit size set by 64 bit never mind 2^128.

Re:Keep going (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869176)

Note that register size and address size need not be the same. There were many processors out there with 16-bit memory addresses but only 8-bit registers and data bus. Likewise most 16-bit systems had some mechanism for accessing more than 2^16 memory addresses. Even 32-bit systems often had mechanisms for accessing more than 2^32 memory address though they were little used.

OTOH 64-bit CPUs often don't bother with support for full 64-bit addresses (though they are often designed so they can be allowed in future without changing userland code) because people simply don't have anywhere near that much memory.

I don't think there is much point increasing the size of integer data words beyond 64-bit. Most apps simply don't need numbers that big.

Really needed? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37867230)

Is 64-bit really needed in mobile devices? It increases the number of wires and data transfer, which means less power efficiency.

Re:Really needed? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867580)

Mobile devices will soon need to pass the 4gb/process barrier, so yes, it's needed.

Oblig. WAY (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867740)

"I got me 64 gigabytes of RAM;
I don't feed trolls and I don't ream SPAM;"

-- Weird Al
Hmm, will have to change the refrain, it's not all about the Pentiums anymore, baby.

Re:Really needed? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867786)

You have an interesting definition of soon since no mobile device yet produced even has 4GB of ram. Heck it was this year when the 1GB barrier was broken. I would guess in 3 years we'll have a 4GB phone, but it will be a while before 4GB/process is any kind of barrier, it's not like you'll be running a RDBMS on your phone.

Re:Really needed? (5, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867846)

I'd expect it within 5 years, which seems to be the rough time-frame in which ARM expects the first of these CPUs to be built. This is just the architecture announcement. They need to get it out there so people can begin building tools, etc. There's barely enough time to get all that work done in time before this becomes a serious handicap for ARM, so that's my definition of soon.
 

Re:Really needed? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867942)

I run MySQL in a chroot on my Xoom you insensitive clod!

Re:Really needed? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869152)

You would be better off with PostgreSQL.... ;)

Seriously though, I would probably use SQLite or FirebirdSQL Embedded if I were to use a database on that tight of a hardware spec. I've been somewhat eagerly watching Raspberry Pi to see where that leads.

4GB is all it takes to break the barrier (2)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869588)

These chips need a bunch of address space to access peripherals. When you are at 2GB it starts to get a little tight, depending on how big the windows are for your I/O space (64M per peripheral is not an uncommon size, even if it is just for the registers for a serial or I2C port). Once you get 4GB then you really are stuck and have to use extended addressing and play highmem games in the kernel.

Re:4GB is all it takes to break the barrier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37869786)

When you are at 2GB it starts to get a little tight, depending on how big the windows are

Oh my God. Are you stupid? Do you think a window no matter how big it is could take up 2 gigabytes of RAM? Windows take up pixels not memory. And if by chance you were talking about the operating system then you are really retarted as Windows only takes up a couple of hundred Megabytes. Maybe you are confused as to what cache is. Windows will cache up to however much available RAM you have so it looks like you are using 2gigs but you really aren't as the os will release as much memory as you need instantly.

Once you get 4GB then you really are stuck and have to use extended addressing and play highmem games in the kernel.

Highmem? This isn't DOS. We don't use "highmem" anymore. It's called virtual memory now or virtual address space. The program sees an infinite amount of memory and the system divvies it up to actualy RAM and swap space transparently to the app. Dude, you seriously need to step into the 21st century and put down the commodore 128.

Re:Really needed? (1)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#37870258)

My laptop has 8gb of ram today. If ARM can increase outright performance a bit (perhaps through using many many cores and the use of threading on processing intensive apps) then I'd be keen on ARM for the power savings.

Re:Really needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37868076)

According to the summery, ARM chips could already address 40 bits of address space, which is already way more than 4GBs.

Re:Really needed? (2)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868182)

But with 32 bit registers, that's paged. No one wants to write paged applications.

Re:Really needed? (1)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869288)

But are the address registers limited to 32 bits? It's sizeof(void*) that you need, not sizeof(int). Also I'm not sure what you mean by 'paged' applications? Paging is an OS/MMU function - nothing to do really with the address space of the CPU. If you mean the addressable space from a specific process you might be onto something, but again a lot of that is an OS limitation, not a CPU one. You can access 36bits of memory on 32-bit x86 from a single process if you do the right magic for example.

Re:Really needed? (1)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#37870310)

the right magic being paging, or segmenting of memory, which is a more commonly used (recent) term.

Re:Really needed? (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868326)

From the article, current ARM processors have a 40 bit architecture, which puts the process barrier at 1TB. Every mobile device produced in the next 20 years is probably not going to hit that ceiling.

Re:Really needed? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868518)

The registers are 32 bit, though, which means paged addressing. No one wants to write apps in that environment.

Re:Really needed? (2)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867622)

Is 64-bit really needed in mobile devices? It increases the number of wires and data transfer, which means less power efficiency.

Hey no one will ever need more than 2^64 bytes of RAM!!!

Re:Really needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37868358)

It's more of a cart before the horse in this case.

Re:Really needed? (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867660)

I guess that would depend on what you mean by "needed". It's never going to be needed in the sense that there is nothing about storing some phone numbers and reading some email that needs fast double precision floating point numbers or 5 gigs of ram. In that sense, it's not even REALLY needed on the general desktop yet.

I'm going to guess that some day, mobile devices will have 16 gigs of ram. Battery tech will have advanced enough to let such a device run for 8 hours. So yes 64 bit will be needed because we aren't going to stop at good enough. You will still just look up contacts, listen to music, and play angry birds, but you WILL do it in 64 bit. That day is probably going to get here sooner than we think.

Re:Really needed? (2)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867742)

Mobile devices are going to be the most common platform for games soon, including 3d games, and there you can definitely use more than 4GB for a process.

Re:Really needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37868184)

This. The trend is for mobile devices to replace desktops for most uses, connecting to peripherals such as keyboards and monitors as needed. But your primary computer won't be some beige box under your desk, it will be the phone in your shirt pocket. As such, it will take over the tasks people do with today's desktops, and that requires a larger address space.

Re:Really needed? (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868520)

Let me know when my PC games are going to come even close to using 4GB of ram. I'm always disappointed in the lack of memory use on my gaming rig. Most modern games rarely hit 1GB of mem usage from what I have seen. Rage didn't even bother caching it's many large textures in memory.

Re:Really needed? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868630)

Probably Christmas 2013. 2014 at the latest. By then no 'gamer' system sold in the previous 2 years will have had less than 8gb ram.

Re:Really needed? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869186)

As someone who hasn't had a system in 5 years with less than 8GB of ram, that would be a good thing... especially since I've been thinking of upping to 16GB since it's really (tm) cheap right now.

Re:Really needed? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869994)

Run 4 flash games in firefox/chrome, leave them overnight and each might take 1GB ;).

Re:Really needed? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869774)

Mobile devices are going to be the most common platform for games soon, including 3d games, and there you can definitely use more than 4GB for a process.

I don't think so. Games of any moderate graphical complexity burn too much energy, and battery technology is advancing too slowly. For phones to take share in the gaming field away from consoles or PCs, they would need better ergonomics (connectable controllers), better power (probably plugging into an outlet while playing), and output to the TV.

In other words, mobile devices will surely come to dominate mobile gaming, but will not make significant headway against 'immobile' gaming, any more than being able to watch movies on your smartphone reduces the demand for home theaters. They're expanding the market, not taking away from the existing players. They might be stealing from Nintendo and Sony's handheld sales...

Re:Really needed? (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867848)

It will make writing software for them much easier when their amount of RAM + video RAM will approach the 4 GB limit. Which is probably going to happen soon.

Re:Really needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37868868)

I believe there are already problems in some ARM based devices where there is an exhaustion in virtual address space, not just for applications but in kernel space for devices too. More bits would be welcome here!

Actual implementations (2, Interesting)

dabadab (126782) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867232)

It is worth pointing out that current x86-64 implementations are limited to addressing "only" 48 bits [wikipedia.org] so it's not like that ARM was way beyond the curve with their 40 bit address space (that's 1 TB).

Re:Actual implementations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37867282)

it seems armv8 is 48bit too in that regard..

Re:Actual implementations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37867472)

No, this is referring to virtual addressing. 40 bits / 48 bits is physical addressing.

Running 40 bit PA with a 32 bit VA is pretty much impossible (with any sort of performance) for any kind of general purpose system. Redhat, IBM and others spent quite a bit of effort making Linux work with their "PAE", and it pretty much fell over after about (34-5 bits). For some special purposes (like hypervisor, or another application that requires many large-memory user processes with little in the way of kernel caching), then it could be OK. But really, 64 bit VA is required for today's server.

Re:Actual implementations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37868030)

Traditionally, a 64-bit processor is a processor that was a register width of 64 bits, not an address width of 64 bits.

Re:Actual implementations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37868120)

How did this get modded up? The poster doesn't understand the difference between physical and virtual address space. Didn't this use to be a site for people who understood "information technology"?

Re:Actual implementations (1)

rabun_bike (905430) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869018)

2^40 / 1024 / 1024 / 1024 / 1024 = 1 TB of addressable memory. I concur that is enough for modern data centers machines that generally contain 2 CPU's with 8 physical cores loaded up with 96 GB of RAM.

Re:Actual implementations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37870224)

According to the slides, ARMv8 also only supports 48 bits of VA per TTBR, and 48 bits of PA.

Author seems confused... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867240)

The summary and article both imply that 64 bit addressing means a 64 bit processor. That's not the case. The ARMv8 is a 64 bit processor because it adds 64 bit processing support:

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.

- ARM press release [arm.com]

Re:Author seems confused... (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867770)

It also supports 64 bit addressing. So by whichever definition you prefer, it's a 64-bit processor. Unless of course you demand full 64 bit address space as your bar for true 64-bitness, in which case no one sells such a processor yet.

Not just Intel (5, Informative)

imroy (755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867278)

The architecture puts ARM into more direct competition with Intel and its 64-bit Xeon processors.

Gee, what about AMD and the AMD64 architecture that they developed? You know, the one that Intel eventually had to adopt (license?) when their 64-bit Itanium didn't quite live up to their expectations of being the next architecture that everyone moved to?

Oh, and ARM Holdings don't make chips. They design architectures and implementations that others license and put into actual chips. The summary wasn't so clear on that, and it's a point that lots of people often overlook.

Direct Competition? (3, Insightful)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867314)

The architecture puts ARM into more direct competition with Intel and its 64-bit Xeon processors

Maybe I've just got a certain prejudice, but I don't see any direct comparison, let alone competition, between ARM processors and Xeon processors, no matter how wide their addressing is. ARM processors run some really sophistocated stuff ... in my smartphone. A Xeon processor allows my CAD workstation to handle 3D models with thousands of components, or run an ANSYS simulation that solves the equivalent of 10 million simultaneous equations.

Re:Direct Competition? (-1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867384)

You do realize that the ARM processors are based on the old Motorola 68000 series of processors which used to be used in the workstations and servers of the day? If I recall correctly, the original Sun workstations were based on 68000-series processors, not SPARC, for example.

Low-wattage high-performance processors are actually critical for the server environments that Xeon currently dominates. Cooling multi-processor boards and densely packed blades is a huge part of data center costs.

Re:Direct Competition? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867426)

I usually compare ARM processors to PC CPUs from the late 90s and early oughts, but I think you attempt to conflate them with the MC68x00 is even funnier.

Re:Direct Competition? (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867480)

AFIAK, they're not. It is rather a spiritual (as in inspired by) successor to the 6502 cpu.

Re:Direct Competition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37867522)

AFAIK ARM has nothing to do with the Motorola 68k Processors.
ARM is RISC and the 68k is CISC, they Developed ARM after looking for a succesor to the MOS 6502 and designed their own architecture inspired by the Berkley RISC project.

Re:Direct Competition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37868432)

ARM is RISC and the 68k is CISC

That is the information you get if you look at wikipedia. If you look at the instructions set and reference manuals of the CPU's you might get another idea.
The difference between the MC68000 and the MC68060 alone is large enough to question the validity of categorizing an entire CPU family into the RISC/CISC group.

Re:Direct Competition? (2)

Misagon (1135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867594)

Your statement that ARM should be based on Motorola 68000 is incorrect. The ISAs of the two architectures is completely different. ARM has 32-bit instructions, for instance, while the 68000 has 16-bit instructions. ARM processes the entire 32-bit word, while the 68000 processes 8, 16 or 32-bit words. etc.

Were you confused by the Dragonball series of microcontrollers, that was used in the PalmPilot? Early versions had a 68000 core and later versions had an ARM core.

Re:Direct Competition? (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867800)

Low-wattage high-performance processors are actually critical for the server environments that Xeon currently dominates

I wonder which one is lower power, the ARM or the Xeon.

Of course, you'd have to measure the power for the entire server board, not just the CPU, and you'd have to measure the power based on the same workload.

Re:Direct Competition? (5, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867928)

ARM is *NOT* based on the 68000 design, it was an original CPU design by Acorn computers of Cambridge, England (ARM originally stood for Acorn Risc Machine) for their desktop computers in the late 1980s and during the 90s. ARM bears absolutely no resemblance to 68000.

Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber, the designers of the ARM, were inspired by the simple architecture of the 6502, but the ARM is not based on that either (the ARM does not resemble the 6502 either, nor is it based on the 6502).

Re:Direct Competition? (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868088)

Actually you are wrong, the ARM has nothing to do with the Motorola 68K it was a development on its own
specifically designed for the Acorn Risc Computers. After Acorn went down ARM went independend and tried
to survive by the nieches Intel left over. The nieches now have become mainstream.

Re:Direct Competition? (1)

buglista (1967502) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868116)

NO, THEY ARE NOT. They are not even based on the 6502, it was a new design of 32-bit RISC processor which came out in1987, which is when I first had a play with an ARM-based computer. Look at the instruction sets if you don't believe me.

And who modded this complete rubbish up to 3 anyway?

Re:Direct Competition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37868832)

It's not low wattage on itself, it's performance per watt. Low wattage "per se" is important on mobile devices, not on datacenter.

Re:Direct Competition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37867410)

And since this article is directly reflecting a chip designed for low-power high-density servers, your point is not only moot, but shows your lack of reading comprehension.

Re:Direct Competition? (2)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868012)

Read the technical docs on arm. It continually states that the new architecture was designed specifically to address needs within their current market sectors (eg mobile devices). Nowhere does it make any reference to high density servers, let alone desktops. The article uses a single quote that 'ARM' said it will enable it to take on the server market, and yet it does not cite the individual who has said that. If the article said "Joe Bloggs, senior tech foo-whatever-job @ ARM said...", then I might be inclined to believe it. As it is, it just looks like lazy journalism.

Re:Direct Competition? (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868194)

You can read more in the slide 4 from ARM's presentation at http://www.arm.com/files/downloads/ARMv8_Architecture.pdf [arm.com]:

- Fundamental motivation is evolution into 64-bit
- - Ability to access a large virtual address space
- - Foresee a future need in ARM’s traditional markets
- - Enables expansion of ARM market presence

- Developing ecosystem takes time
- - Development started ahead of strong demand
- - ARM now seeing strong partner interest in 64-bit
- - -Though still some years from “must have” status

Re:Direct Competition? Already being demonstrated (1)

hmbJeff (591813) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869012)

There are already several comanies working on multi-core ARM chips for servers, because they believe that will be the most power-efficient way to handle big workloads. Here is one product announcement [eetimes.com] from the day after ARM 64 was announced:

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Applied Micro Circuits Corp. fired a shot across the bow of Intel, demonstrating the first 64-bit ARM server processor here. The X-Gene chip is the first of an array of competitors that will attack Intel's multi-billion dollar server franchise with cheaper, lower power ARM SoCs.

AMCC's X-Gene packs multiple 3 GHz cores complaint with the ARM 64-bit V8 architecture announced today at ARM Tech Con. The cores are quad-issue, out-of-order superscalar designs. The chip also sports Ethernet MACs, PCI Express and Serial ATA linked on an 80 GByte/second fabric.

The company showed a working version in an FPGA emulation it will ship in January. Silicon will sample in the second half of 2012.

Re:Direct Competition? (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867446)

Not for workstations, I agree (I have one as well at work). But once you start piling up CPUs in racks by the hundreds the raw power matters less than the power per watt. Power and heat dissipation becomes the limiting factor in how much processing power you can cram into a given facility, or the total size, construction and installation cost for a bespoke facility. And while the Xeon is fast it and its support circuitry is rather a power hog.

Re:Direct Competition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37867498)

So they compete with the Atom mega-processing racks Intel's been pushing, but not with Xeon.

Re:Direct Competition? (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867750)

"So they compete with the Atom mega-processing racks Intel's been pushing, but not with Xeon."

Well, no. That's the purview of the current ARM7 architecture (or rather, Atom is designed to compete with ARM7, not the other way around). This seems aimed at a much higher point on the power/performance envelope.

Re:Direct Competition? (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867836)

An atom-processing rack is pretty much stillborn in any industry that requires double precision computations - it's just far too slow. It would appear (according to the ARM docs on the architecture) that they have been working on vectorised double precision support. Assuming that the speeds aren't as bad as the ATOM (i.e. a few cycles per instruction, rather than a few hundred), I'd be expecting an ARM rack to be a much more marketable concept than an Atom version.

Arm still has quite a long way to go until it can compete with xeon, but then again, the GPU has shown us that gaffa taping a few hundred simple cores together can produce a computational monster. However, something tells me they probably aren't that interested in that market. They're most likely just trying to safeguard their position in the mobile market with a low cost, quad core 64bit CPU. I somehow suspect that any concept of ARM 'taking on' the xeon is nothing more than slashdot rhetoric.

Re:Direct Competition? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37869212)

These are my feeling as well. I think that having a couple thousand compute units with say 40-60GB of SSD storage and even 1-2GB of RAM would go a long way in a cluster, or sharded data store.

Re:Direct Competition? (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37867524)

The same was said about x86 when comparing it to the highend alpha/mips/sparc/ppc of the time.

Never underestimate competition coming from below...

Re:Direct Competition? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37869348)

Right you are. x86 was seen as a badly-designed, amateurish architecture based on the older z80, which would get crushed by the up-and-coming RISC architectures. It turned out that high-volume commodity processors and boards beat the RISC stuff handily when it came to price/performance, and the influx of cash helped Intel ramp up its R&D to make better and better processors, both in terms of silicon processing and design.

Intel would do well to remember these lessons now that /it/ has a near-monopoly on the high-end, high-margin processors (Xeon). ARM-based processors are being produced in enormous volume for smartphones, tablets, and set-top-boxes, and if there were a standardized boot process and hardware baseline, they could replace the PC platform in very short order.

(I'm an engineer at Intel, and awfully proud of it. Posting anonymously for hopefully obvious reasons.)

Re:Direct Competition? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37870148)

Underneath the thin skin of the current x64 decoders are hiding high performance monsters. It is going to take much more than just 64 bit addressing and ramp up of the CPU clock speed to catch them.

Don't expect the 600 ton gorilla that is a x86/64 that was able to crush pretty much everything on it's path to sit idle and wait for own demise.

64-bit CPU or 64-bit adresssing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37867864)

The Commodore 64 CPU (Mos 6510, a variant of the well-known 6502) was not a 16-bit CPU. It had 16-bit addressing, but was still an 8-bit CPU.

Is this a real 64-bit CPU, or just a 32-bit CPU with 64-bit addressing?

Re:64-bit CPU or 64-bit adresssing? (2)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37868056)

Well, there is no "real" definition of a "n-bit CPU".

Anyway, ARMv8 has 64-bit registers, a 64-bit logical address space, a 48-bit physical address space, and 32-bit wide instructions.

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