ARM announces 64-bit ARMv8 Platform

ARM announced that they will release 64bit microcontrollers. The ARMv8 uC will feature a 64bit instruction set, as well as extended virtual addressing. The uCs will have two execution states, AArch32, and AArch64. While the AArch64 handles the 64bit instruction set, the AArch32 executes the existing ARM 32bit instruction set.

A compiler for the new 64bit instruction was already developed, and open source support is promised.

Via Adafruit.

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  1. No, they won’t be releasing 64-bit microcontrollers. First of all, because ARM don’t make any chips at all, they make cores that others use in their chips. But that’s trivial. More interestingly, the announcement says:

    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.

    See the “A” in “Cortex-A” there? That means they’re intended for “application processors”, not microcontrollers. In contrast, the NXP microcontrollers mentioned recently are “Cortex-M0″ based. (and you can guess what the “M” means) So that’s a hint as to who the intended audience for these cores are – think tablets and smartphones.

    It doesn’t seem like we’ll see any 64-bit ARM microcontrollers, at least not yet. Packages with leads probably aren’t that likely either.

    On the flip side, a bit further down, “data centers” and “cloud computing” are mentioned. I’m hoping that this means we can finally get servers and desktop computers with a decent instruction set. Supposedly Microsoft has already demoed Windows (proper Windows, not CE) on ARM, and porting open source OSes is just a matter of getting the hardware out there.

  2. microsnot can keep his dirty tentacles away from this family of chips and I will appreciate it. There’s enough optimized os’s out there that can use this fairly nicely :D

    wrt mcu’s I don’t see a 64bit as a good thing for mcu’s unless price and speed of the flash go drastically down and up. With 64bit you have a single nop taking 64bits!!! that’s a lot of wasted flash, lot of wasted cache etc etc .. for cpu not too big of a deal as you will be addressing gigabytes and you will be using only cache on board, data and program storage is outside of the chip … in case of mcu’s when all that is inside, you ain’t gonna push more then 4G inside the mcu for sure any time soon so I don’t see any real benefit with 64bit architecture in that regard. And if you need to do a huge numbers number crunching, then cpu is more then good solution for you :)

    one hint about optimization btw, compare speed of android running on 1.2GHz with IPhone running on exactly the same cpu only at 800MHz. IPhone is 30-50% faster !!! it’s only because app is better optimized. In this area of computing using “faster cpu” ain’t cutting it as faster cpu eats more power => battery life goes to drain. I see google seriously working on more optimization of the android code, let’s see what they will produce…

    Mobile market race produced fairly good set of tools and libraries for ARM cpu’s … attm the hype word is “cloud”, as much as, with current technology, cloud is just a fancy word for “virtualized and not working”, introduction of cheap and powerful cpu like A9 core could in theory allow transputer like hosting platform that can actually host an usable elastic cloud platform … but let’s wait and see… intel is in great advantage here and while many tried to go trough the small doors, only one so far managed … Everyone is attm working on low power solutions, arm, xilinx, altera, ti … every presentation I visited, from xilinx trough ti and altera, every single presentation was about – how we dropped power consumption in current family and how we are going to drop it even more in the next one… few years ago if you wanted few years on your battery powered device you’d go with TI and that was about it .. today every single manufacturer have the “low power / nano power / pico power …” range of devices :D

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