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ARM says momentum is growing for 64-bit chip designs

Announces having signed 50 licensing deals
Tue Sep 02 2014, 11:53
ARM says momentum is growing for 64-bit chip designs

UK CHIP DESIGN HOUSE ARM claims it has seen growing momentum for its 64-bit ARMv8-A processor designs, announcing it has signed 50 licensing agreements with silicon partners to fab chips based on the architecture.

ARM said that a total of 27 companies have signed agreements for the company's ARMv8-A technology, including all of the silicon vendors selling application processors for smartphones plus most of those targeting enterprise networking and servers.

The firm did not disclose which company signed the 50th licence, telling The INQUIRER that it was up to the licensees themselves whether to announce their plans. However, it claimed that while the first wave of ARM v8-A licences were for silicon targeting smartphones and tablets, the latest wave includes many aimed at enterprise infrastructure as well.

ARM unveiled its 64-bit processor architecture in 2011, followed a year later by the Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 core designs based on it. These provide backwards compatibility with existing 32-bit ARM software, but add a new 64-bit execution state that delivers more capabilities, including support for 64-bit data and a larger memory address space that is required if ARM chips are to make their way into servers and other enterprise hardware.

"ARMv8-A technology brings multiple benefits, including 64-bit capability alongside improved efficiency of existing 32-bit applications," said Noel Hurley, GM of ARM's processor division.

While ARM's chips are already widely used in smartphones and tablets thanks to their low power consumption, they have also been getting attention in recent years for use in the data centre, as service providers and enterprises alike have become concerned about the amount of power being consumed by IT infrastructure.

The list of silicon vendors developing chips based on the ARMv8-A architecture already includes Samsung, Qualcomm, Broadcom and AMD, the latter of which is set to bring to market a series of ARM-based server chips, the Opteron A1100 Series processors, codenamed Seattle.

Meanwhile, software vendors including Red Hat and Ubuntu Linux developer Canonical are working on a 64-bit software ecosystem to power ARM-based servers.

ARM recently announced that the 50 billionth chip containing an ARM processor core had been shipped by partners, and said the momentum in 64-bit ARM architecture is a key component in the journey toward the next 100 billion chips. µ

 

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