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ARM reveals 64-bit architecture ARMv8, expects prototype systems in 2014

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ARM's aiming at Intel's server dominance, but chips are a few years out.

ARM Cortex-A15
ARM Cortex-A15

Ever since NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang let slip that its ARM-based Project Denver silicon was 64-bit, the semiconductor industry has been waiting to see what ARM was cooking. Sure enough, ARM CTO Mike Muller revealed a new 64-bit architecture called ARMv8 at the ARM TechCon this week, designed for high-end servers and computing in particular.

While it's hard to say exactly what benefits the move to 64-bit will bring in total, the obvious one is solving a RAM deficiency: just like 32-bit desktop operating systems, the current 32-bit ARMv7 architecture can't address more than 4GB of physical memory. Still, the 64-bit platform will be backwards compatible, and Bloomberg reports that HP is already planning to sell ARM-based servers using Calxeda silicon. AppliedMicro also announced a 128-core, 3GHz "server on a chip" called X-Gene based on the new architecture. These developments might make a dent in Intel dominance, but not anytime soon — as always, ARM just comes up with the intellectual property, and actual 64-bit ARM silicon isn't slated to appear until 2014.