Friday, July 8, 2011

Will ARM architecture go 64-bit?

For some time now I have been thinking about the increasing memory capacities of mobile devices and the fact that the ARM architecture, upon which they are built, is still 32-bit only. This was puzzling for me, so I decided to dig around a little. The results are more than interesting.

Apparently, in November last year (2010) rumors started spreading that ARM holdings is working on a 64-bit ARM processor (see Xbit labs, These rumors were denied by ARM CEO Warren East in February 2011.

In an interesting turn of events, before that in January 2011 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Nvidia announced project Denver which aims to create a 64-bit ARM processor powerful enough to compete on the desktop and server market. At the same time Microsoft announced that Windows 8 will run on ARM as well as on x86. You can read a vey nice analysis on Ars Technica or the interview with Nvidia CEO.

Nvidia's plans are very bold. Who knows whether they will succeed. If they do, this could stir the stale waters of x86 deskop quite a bit. Spending the last HelenOS camp finding a bug in the ARM context save/restore routines might not have been a waste of time after all. Who'd have thought? ^_^