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Mobile Atom SoC to Remain 32-bit at Least Until 2015

The 22 nm Valleyview-T SoC and its Bay Trail-T platform promise a 50 to 60 percent performance improvement or half the power consumption at a comparable performance. Valleyview-T, which is based on the Silvermont core, will debut as a quad-core SoC with a clock speed ranging from 1.6 GHz to 2.1 GHz. Also noteworthy is the fact that the platform will support screen resolutions of up to 2560x1600 pixels, as well as 3D video capture in 1080p/60 fps.

Somewhat surprising is the notion that Intel will keep its Silvermont Atom processor as a 32-bit platform at least through 2014. Customers who need 64-bit capability in Atom will have to consider the microserver-focused Centerton Atom-S processor. It is unclear whether the Silvermont successor, the 14 nm Airmont, will be moving to 64-bit.

We remember that Intel has a history of delaying 64-bit support on mobile platforms. For example, Intel's first 65 nm processor and the first CPU released under the "Core" brand - the Core Solo/Duo with Yonah Core - were offered in 2006 as 32-bit processors only, even if the company offered a 64-bit variant with Sossaman core for servers at the time. Intel claimed that there was no need for a 64-bit CPU in the mobile market it was targeting.

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  • Makes sense that they'd want to repeat the same mistakes they made last decade and create more work for developers. AMD beat Intel to 64 bit, then Intel agrees to use AMD64 as the basis of their own implementation because it was just plain better.

    In the mean time, Intel and Microsoft made a secret deal to delay a 64 bit consumer Windows as long as possible so that AMD64 does not give AMD any actual advantage or selling point.

    Then there's the matter of how badly Microsoft and ISV's continues to botch 64 bit Windows compatibility to this day... There are numerous documented incompatibilities between Microsoft Office files saved with 32/64 bit versions of Office. Such things are unheard of in Linux/GCC, which properly supported AMD64 from right around the time it came out.
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  • nightbird321
    My take from this article: Atom is finally going Out of Order! Hurrah!
    Reply
  • livebriand
    So why should I buy one of these over an AMD C-series or E-series APU then? They just have to make Atom suck, right? (which is why I bought an E350 netbook...)
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  • ojas
    Makes sense, honestly. I don't think they need to till 4GB+ RAM starts being used in mobile devices. Till then, why add the 64-bit extensions if they aren't going to be used? From what i know, current CPUs have to emulate a 32-bit environment. Native 32-bit processors wont have to do that. Possible performance advantage? I don't know enough to answer that.

    geezerpleaserThere are numerous documented incompatibilities between Microsoft Office files saved with 32/64 bit versions of Office. Such things are unheard of in Linux/GCC, which properly supported AMD64 from right around the time it came out.Yeah but even MS recommends using the 32-bit version of Office 2013, and that's what i did with the preview. Does office even exist as a 64-bit version (apart from the current preview/trial version for 2013)?
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  • ojas
    I can also see mention of "Intel Gen 7" graphics, instead of the PowerVR stuff. Wonder what that is. I would assume, looking at the claim they're making about performance per watt, that this is going to be based on Haswell.
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  • Isn't the CURRENT Atom 64-bit? The issue was driver support from the Graphics chip. Maybe Intel wants to just keep Clovertrail/Silvermont Atom as 32-bit for now so that they can push Haswell/Broadwell into the tablet sector with their 10 watt SOC parts. Silvermont will be for small form factor tablets that do not need more than 4 GB as well as phones. Haswell/Broadwell will be for large form factor tablets that will do more PC type things along with convertibles (along with desktops, workstations, servers, etc.).
    Reply
  • memadmax
    omg...
    The first two comments on this just shows that they dont know what 64bit is for....

    All 64bit is for to access more RAM beyond the 32bit 4gig address barrier....

    Nothing more... It gives no performance boost or anything else for that matter...

    Back in the old days, the transition from 16bit to 32bit was a giant leap because cpu instructions were too constricted, but that is simply not the case with 32->64...

    And since phones don't need to access great big globs of RAM, it makes sense to keep them at 32bit... why bother wasting resources on a phone(especially a phone) that are not needed yet?
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  • pjmelect
    The first two comments on this just shows that they dont know what 64bit is for....

    All 64bit is for to access more RAM beyond the 32bit 4gig address barrier....

    Nothing more... It gives no performance boost or anything else for that matter...

    This is not true, a 64 bit program can be a lot faster than a 32 bit program, but as usual the software lags behind the hardware and the advantage of the 64 bits is lost. It also depends on the type of program being run, some maths intensive programs run a lot faster when running 64 bit software.
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  • memadmax: Your comment shows that you aren't a software developer, which is how you completely missed the point. Ideally, developers should just be able to release a 64 bit version of their software, but thanks to Windows being so incredibly fragmented between it's 32 and 64 bit variants, you have to test both (and occasionally apply special fixes to one or the other), because it's not safe to assume that just because it works in 64bit Windows that it will work in 32bit(and vice-versa).

    It's totally relevant to Atom because the ONLY selling point of x86 is compatibility with the full version of Windows, aka not the gimped ARM version of Windows, which Atom promises to continue perpetuating the need for a 32bit version by being the only 32bit x86 CPU you can still buy...

    Make sense?
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  • tomfreak
    ojasMakes sense, honestly. I don't think they need to till 4GB+ RAM starts being used in mobile devices. Till then, why add the 64-bit extensions if they aren't going to be used? From what i know, current CPUs have to emulate a 32-bit environment. Native 32-bit processors wont have to do that. Possible performance advantage? I don't know enough to answer that.Yeah but even MS recommends using the 32-bit version of Office 2013, and that's what i did with the preview. Does office even exist as a 64-bit version (apart from the current preview/trial version for 2013)?it is about time they start support now, so it allow software developer to get some head start. Some high end phones has already come with 2GB of RAM, so it wont take long that we got 4GB models. I dont like the idea of we have 4-8GB of Ram when most developer still stuck in 32bit mode. This is what already happen in desktop.
    Reply