ARM has disclosed early details of its new ARMv8 architecture, the first to feature a 64-bit instruction set, which is intended to allow future ARM-based chips to run everything from battery-powered devices to datacentre servers.
Announced at the firm's ARM TechCon event in Santa Clara, ARMv8 extends the existing ARM processor architecture with a new instruction set for 64-bit processing, dubbed A64.
This new architecture will expand the reach of ARM-based solutions into consumer and enterprise applications where extended virtual addressing and 64-bit data processing are required, ARM said.
However, it is still very early days for the ARM 64-bit ecosystem, and prototype systems are not expected until 2014.
The ARMv8 architecture specifications are available now to ARM licensees, and ARM said it will have processor designs based on ARMv8 during 2012. These designs will be incorporated into chips by ARM partners after this date, as ARM does not manufacture silicon itself.
"This is a long journey that we're only just beginning," said Mike Inglis, executive vice president of ARM's processor division.
One chipmaker, AppliedMicro, has already announced its intention to bring a 64-bit ARM chip to market next year, but so far this exists only as a field-programmable gate array implementation to demonstrate that AppliedMicro has a working design, according to Inglis.
ARM said that it is working to ensure a robust design ecosystem to support the 64-bit architecture, and there has already been considerable interest in using ARM chips for applications beyond the traditional mobile and embedded space, such as in datacentre servers.
Moon's dark side is mountainous, rugged and never visible from the Earth
The groundwater basins in some areas of Tehran have been damaged irreversibly
This is the first time that any spacecraft on Mars has recorded air vibrations on the planet
Arctic sea ice is thickening at a faster rate during winter, thus slowing down long-term decline: NASA
But, the seasonal ice growth could only delay the demise of the Arctic ice cap for a few more decades