One thing that would be interesting is the ability to run a full virtual machine inside a smart phone, and I guess there 64bit addressing is kinda important.
I think the way things are going, the successor to the PC will be a smart phone (or a device based on smart phone internals) + cradle to link a full sized screen, keyboard and other traditional PC peripherals.
My ideal device would be a portable thing I can carry with me all the time and be able to expand its capabilities (memory, parallel CPUs, graphics/video, input/output devices) when connected to the docking unit.
This 64bit CPU is far from it but maybe, just maybe, one step closer to it.
Excellent point. Targetting multiple ISAs is a real pain, and the sooner Apple can unify all its development targets, the better. Having a 64-bit ARM now means getting everything in the tool chain in place, as well as hardware engineering, so Apple could launch ARM8 based laptops within a year.
When we switched from IA32 to IA64 processors, we immediately got a 3x speedup with the same amount of memory. The main reason for this is that IA32 was register starved (8 not so orthogonal registers), while IA64 had 16 orthogonal registers.
The ARM 8 is a totally different ISA than ARM 7, not ARM 7 + 64-bit addressing. It goes from 16 not so orthogonal registers to 32 orthogonal ones. This will not be as big a boost in performance as Intel had, because the ARM7 wasn't so crippled, but it will be a boost. And that's exactly what Apple is saying right now - that the ARM64 platform means twice the number of registers for applications to use. And that can matter a lot.
CPUs already use special instructions for encryption, so the impact of 64 bits would be limited to different types of encryption that aren't supported in the ISA. So for instance maybe you have AES acceleration making the 64 bit transition moot, but need to use integer instructions for ECDSA and thus get a big speedup for that.
Rick, you understand how much engineers love data, right? In all seriousness though, it's not so much the competition with others but the competition with oneself, and the motivation FitBit gives to do at least 10,000 steps a day, and praise messages for exceeding that number.
FitBit also integrates nicely with the myfitnesspal app, which is great for tracking your food intake & exercise.
This stuff is all still in its infancy, but the digital feedback is quite valuable & motivating. My current profile pic on EE Times is recent, and is a much slimmer me than the one from a couple years ago. I attribute that mostly to collecting & tracking this data -- an activity that is not only motivational, but quite educational.
I remember being told in 1979 that the 32k (yes kilobytes) of memory on my Commodore PET was all that I'd ever need for programming. It wasn't long before the "SuperPET" came out with 96k of bank switched memory and the memory arms race continues to this day. Today the start-up graphics on my computer use more memory than that. We have a nearly unlimited capacity to utilize computer memory and processing resources. I'm interested that Windows computers seem to co-exist in 32 bit and 64 bit processor versions. How much of a performance benefit is there for the 64 bits? My sense is that the down side is that many programs are not available in 64 bit versions.
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