ARM Shares Info on ARMv8 – 64-Bit Chip Architecture

Posted by at 11:04 am on October 28, 2011

Thursday ARM gave some of the details of its first 64-bit chip architecture, ARMv8. The design builds off the current 32-bit ARMv7 and either keeps or expands on features like its Neon instructions, security, and virtual machine support. Most of the benefit comes from the handling of much larger data sets and support more virtual memory. Pressure doesn’t yet exist for ARM to go to 64-bit in smartphones and tablets, where most devices stop well under the 4GB ceiling of 32-bit memory addressing, no less that of 64 bit CPUs

Its 32-bit component keeps all the same features and is backwards compatible. ARM hasn’t said if the v8 platform supports running 32- and 64-bit code at the same time.

Partners are already getting compilers to build 64-bit ARM code and are already getting “fast models” to help prototype their work. NVIDIA has pledged its support and is likely to use it for future Tegra chips as well as Project Denver, its desktop-grade ARM chip effort. Microsoft has called ARM an “important partner” may ship a 64-bit version of Windows 8 for the ARM line in the future.

Details of full-scale processors with ARMv8 are due in 2012, but products sporting the new CPUS may not hit retail until 2014.

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