ARM Says 2015 Will Be The Year Of 64-Bit Chips

ARM recently revealed a list of forecasts for 2015, and two of the more interesting ones were the predictions about 64-bit chips. In the first prediction, ARM said that as many as 50 percent of the smartphones being shipped in 2015 will be 64-bit capable. In the second, ARM predicted that smartphones that ship with both 64-bit chips and LTE modems will sell for as little as $70.

After Apple launched its ARMv8-based 64-bit A7 chip in 2013, some companies tried at first to deny that 64-bit support is an important feature for mobile CPUs, while others started giving hints that they'll adopt 64-bit chips as soon as possible.

More than a year later, and after Apple has already unveiled its second generation 64-bit Cyclone, there are only a few different 64-bit CPUs on the market. Those are mainly ARM's Cortex A53 for the low-end, and the Cortex A57, usually coupled with Cortex A53 in a big.LITTLE configuration, for the high-end.

There's also Intel's new Atoms for mobile; however, we're going to assume that when ARM talks about 64-bit chips, it's likely referring to ARMv8 chips. The company should have a good idea about the ARMv8 licenses that it will give out in 2015, making it easier to have a forecast for ARMv8 chips alone.

We could count Nvidia's Denver as well, although that core seems to have seen only a brief appearance on the market, inside the Nexus 9 tablet. Nvidia has already replaced the Denver core in the Tegra X1 SoC with Cortex A57 and Cortex A53 cores, and the future of Denver is now uncertain.

The other big prediction from ARM is the rise of the 64-bit LTE-capable smartphone that costs only $70, making it possible for just about anyone in the world to have a relatively fast smartphone experience.

The reason why this is important, especially for ARM itself, is because ARMv8 is a whole new instruction set that adds more than just 64-bit addresses. ARM wants everyone to switch to the new architecture as soon as possible. This should increase the company's revenues, when everyone pays for a slightly higher cost license, and it should also help app developers focus on high-performance ARMv8 apps.

The two most popular operating systems running on ARM chips, Android and iOS, both support the new ARMv8 architecture, so apps that take full advantage of it should start to appear soon.

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  • IInuyasha74
    I still don't understand the point of 64-bit smartphones and tablets. When PC went to 64-bit, the biggest advantage that existed was the option to use greater amounts of RAM than 4GB. Today still the only real thing that has changed to give 64-bit an advantage is the ability to use 64-bit applications. Other than that its not an important feature.

    I fail to see why someone needs more than 4GB of RAM in their mobile devices.
  • jimmysmitty
    Quote:
    I still don't understand the point of 64-bit smartphones and tablets. When PC went to 64-bit, the biggest advantage that existed was the option to use greater amounts of RAM than 4GB. Today still the only real thing that has changed to give 64-bit an advantage is the ability to use 64-bit applications. Other than that its not an important feature. I fail to see why someone needs more than 4GB of RAM in their mobile devices.


    The way you fail to see the need for 4GB in mobile is the same way people failed to see the need for more than 4GB of RAM on desktops back when 64Bit first started.

    It will eventually be utilized to load programs so they will launch faster as RAM is faster than storage.

    As well, 64Bit has been shown to be faster than 32Bit in certain uses.
  • edwd2
    When did the Athlon 64 launch? 11 years ago?