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ARM is Already Considering 128-bit Mobile CPU

By - Source: Korea Times | B 50 comments

2014 looks to be an exciting year for mobile technology.

Earlier this year, Apple made headlines with its 64-bit SoC for the iPhone 5S. That SoC is now present in the iPad Air and the new iPad Mini Retina. Since the launch of the iPhone 5S, we've been hearing talk of a 64-bit Exynos from Samsung. Now ARM has confirmed that the chip is coming. The Korea Herald cites a senior manager at ARM as saying executives from Samsung and ARM met this week and discussed the ARM 64-bit chip expected to be used in a Samsung device next year.

Though it's not an official confirmation, rumors of a 64-bit Samsung device have been doing the rounds for a while. Word on the street is that the Galaxy S5 will include a 64-bit processor. No doubt if Samsung does include the 64-bit Exynos in the S5, we'll also see it in the next iteration of Galaxy Note as well.

Of course, with the rate at which mobile technology is evolving, it's hard to think about what's next without thinking about what's going to come in the future. To that end, it sounds like ARM is already considering a 128-bit processor. According to the KoreaTimes' ARM official, such a chip could hit the market in the next two years, but it's not set in stone.

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  • 13 Hide
    cemerian , November 24, 2013 9:37 AM
    i would say more than overkill, 64bit already qualifies for that status
  • 11 Hide
    coolitic , November 24, 2013 9:30 AM
    128 bit is a little bit (pun not intended) overkill
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    darkchazz , November 24, 2013 9:10 AM
    I much rather have this than pointless, battery eating, gpu sucking 1440p mobile displays...
  • 8 Hide
    InvalidError , November 24, 2013 9:20 AM
    There is a difference between a CPU that can handle 128bits data structures a CPU that can do all arithmetic operations using 128bits operands. With AVX2, x86 can already work with 256bits registers and AVX3 will extend that to 512bits but most arithmetic using those are limited to 64bits int/float.

    I'm guessing ARM's 128bits will be similar: provide more register bits to work with SIMD and add a subset of instructions that can actually work with 128bits values.
  • 11 Hide
    coolitic , November 24, 2013 9:30 AM
    128 bit is a little bit (pun not intended) overkill
  • 13 Hide
    cemerian , November 24, 2013 9:37 AM
    i would say more than overkill, 64bit already qualifies for that status
  • 0 Hide
    Pinhedd , November 24, 2013 9:39 AM
    Quote:
    There is a difference between a CPU that can handle 128bits data structures a CPU that can do all arithmetic operations using 128bits operands. With AVX2, x86 can already work with 256bits registers and AVX3 will extend that to 512bits but most arithmetic using those are limited to 64bits int/float.

    I'm guessing ARM's 128bits will be similar: provide more register bits to work with SIMD and add a subset of instructions that can actually work with 128bits values.


    That's most likely the case. Dynamically scheduled machines scale exponentially in power and transistor consumption due to the massive backend bus and common data bus. 128 bit GPRs and 128 bit EUs across the board would cause ARM processors to lose their market position as low power CPUs without offering any sort of advantage.
  • 5 Hide
    ddpruitt , November 24, 2013 9:47 AM
    128 bit is pointless. I can't even remember the last time I needed to deal with a 64 bit structure. 64 bit is useful for addressing more than 4 gigs of RAM after that it's use is limited.
  • 0 Hide
    Kewlx25 , November 24, 2013 10:04 AM
    ddpruitt, IPv6 is 128bit. ZFS is 128bit. I'm not sure how their data structures are actually used, but I'm sure there is potential optimizations that could be done for processing data in 128bit general registers.

    64bits is enough to address huge swaths of memory space, but 64bits isn't much data to be processed in one cycle.

    The real question is how much of our current and near future algorithms could benefit from 128bit general int registers.
  • 6 Hide
    InvalidError , November 24, 2013 10:07 AM
    Quote:
    128 bit is pointless.

    Not pointless but it does have somewhat limited use cases...
    - cryptography
    - arbitrary length bitfield manipulations
    - arbitrary precision math: 75% fewer partial multiplications, half as many intermediate steps for most other operations
    - memory copying: half as many load/store operations to copy a given amount of data

    This is assuming we do not count SIMD as legit 128bitness. If we count SIMD then it becomes useful for tons of things like audio and image/video processing.
  • -2 Hide
    GhosT94 , November 24, 2013 10:12 AM
    128 bit is an overkill , it seems their still playing the numbers game which will hit a dead end after 64 bit and energy efficient and prices will become key points next year IMO
  • -3 Hide
    ericburnby , November 24, 2013 10:14 AM
    Quote:
    128 bit is pointless. I can't even remember the last time I needed to deal with a 64 bit structure. 64 bit is useful for addressing more than 4 gigs of RAM after that it's use is limited.


    Let's say you had a 64bit program that performed image manipulation. The program itself was 10MB and it allocated 240MB of RAM for data to work with for a total of 250MB of RAM.

    Now here's a question for every one on Tom's who continually posts that you need 4GB of RAM to make use of 64bit.

    Do you think this program, only occupying 250MB of RAM, will not give you any advantage on a system with less then 4GB of RAM? Think very carefully about your answer. This should weed out the people who actually understand 64bit from those that don't.
  • 0 Hide
    sean1357 , November 24, 2013 10:15 AM
    It is still single instruction executed even 128 or 256. It needs parallel processing like FPGA. Altera Stratix 10 is over kill all the crap MCUs....
  • 4 Hide
    doron , November 24, 2013 10:20 AM
    ARM has an official statement to this rumor.
    the response is by Ian Drew,Chief Marketing Officer and EVP Business Development in ARM. Here's a spoiler:
    "Did you hear the joke about the 128 bit processor? ..."
  • 4 Hide
    none12345 , November 24, 2013 10:26 AM
    I would not call what this article is discussing a 128 bit cpu. It call it a 32 or 64 bit cpu(duno which without knowing more about the chip), that has a 128 bit floating point unit.

    Just like how we dont call current intel chips 256 bit chips, even tho they have 256 bit floating point units. When someone says a 32 bit or 64 bit cpu, etc, they are usually talking about the address space, or the general purpose register size..

    What they really mean....is adding in widening their floating point unit, which certainly isnt a bad thing. Its just very missleading to call it a 128 bit cpu.
  • 7 Hide
    none12345 , November 24, 2013 10:27 AM
    I would not call what this article is discussing a 128 bit cpu. It call it a 32 or 64 bit cpu(duno which without knowing more about the chip), that has a 128 bit floating point unit.

    Just like how we dont call current intel chips 256 bit chips, even tho they have 256 bit floating point units. When someone says a 32 bit or 64 bit cpu, etc, they are usually talking about the address space, or the general purpose register size..

    What they really mean....is adding in widening their floating point unit, which certainly isnt a bad thing. Its just very missleading to call it a 128 bit cpu.
  • 0 Hide
    shahrooz , November 24, 2013 10:52 AM
    gimmmick
  • 0 Hide
    ddpruitt , November 24, 2013 11:07 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    128 bit is pointless. I can't even remember the last time I needed to deal with a 64 bit structure. 64 bit is useful for addressing more than 4 gigs of RAM after that it's use is limited.


    Let's say you had a 64bit program that performed image manipulation. The program itself was 10MB and it allocated 240MB of RAM for data to work with for a total of 250MB of RAM.

    Now here's a question for every one on Tom's who continually posts that you need 4GB of RAM to make use of 64bit.

    Do you think this program, only occupying 250MB of RAM, will not give you any advantage on a system with less then 4GB of RAM? Think very carefully about your answer. This should weed out the people who actually understand 64bit from those that don't.


    I think you need to understand the architecture a bit better. The 10 Meg program and the 240 Meg alloc'd space are stored in different segments. The OS takes care of the program while the program takes care of the data. Ignoring a bunch of details, essentially the OS is only going to be storing offsets, not an entire 64 bit pointer and the offsets are shorter than 64 bits. The virtual address space uses some creative techniques to appear larger and segments the pieces for easy conversion. Thus your 64 bits aren't useful except for much except physical addresses.
  • 0 Hide
    ddpruitt , November 24, 2013 11:10 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    128 bit is pointless.

    Not pointless but it does have somewhat limited use cases...
    - cryptography
    - arbitrary length bitfield manipulations
    - arbitrary precision math: 75% fewer partial multiplications, half as many intermediate steps for most other operations
    - memory copying: half as many load/store operations to copy a given amount of data

    This is assuming we do not count SIMD as legit 128bitness. If we count SIMD then it becomes useful for tons of things like audio and image/video processing.


    I agree those are some corner cases where 128 bit is useful. But those are limited uses and I would argue a ALU capable of 256 bit or even 515 bit math might be more useful here. It would be interesting to see split implementations again where the ALU and MMU where different sizes.
  • 0 Hide
    gsxrme , November 24, 2013 11:30 AM
    128bit can only be useful with something using either a shit ton of ram or a cpu that is heavily threaded such as a 20 core cpu and apps or programs that support such a cpu. Or maybe give android OS direct control over every cpu core and have android control what apps or processes use what core for maximum of a threading and maximum multitasking.

    My 2 cents
  • 3 Hide
    funguseater , November 24, 2013 12:11 PM
    Pretty sure this RUMOR was debunked already.
  • 0 Hide
    clonazepam , November 24, 2013 12:22 PM
    Considering we aren't using the amount of RAM 64 bit allows, and it allows a far greater amount than what could ever fit on any device, why 128 bit? If someone, far smarter than myself, would care to explain the real world benefit of going to 128 bit I'd appreciate it.

    Now, I know there's more overhead for translating addresses, the higher you go, and allowing more RAM, but beyond that, that's about it.

    Edit: read the comments. Ok, its been debunked. I'd like to point out though the comments seems to be geared toward the relevance of 128 versus 64 from a PC perspective, and not at all about how it would benefit the typical ARM media consumption device.
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