Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 31st Mar 2014 21:35 UTC
Apple

AnandTech on Apple's A7 processor:

I suspect Apple has more tricks up its sleeve than that however. Swift and Cyclone were two tocks in a row by Intel's definition, a third in 3 years would be unusual but not impossible (Intel sort of committed to doing the same with Saltwell/Silvermont/Airmont in 2012 - 2014).

Looking at Cyclone makes one thing very clear: the rest of the players in the ultra mobile CPU space didn't aim high enough. I wonder what happens next round.

This is one area where Apple really took everyone by surprise recently. When people talk about Apple losing its taste for disruption, they usually disregard the things they do not understand - such as hardcore processor design.

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Sad fact of reality
by shotsman on Tue 1st Apr 2014 05:27 UTC
shotsman
Member since:
2005-07-22

All this negativeness towards the 64bit processor reminds me of the same sort of thing happening 22 years ago when DEC came out with the Alpha series of CPU's. Sure there were 64bit CPU available but some of the competitors took to derriding 64bits while they frantically cobbled together their own 64bit designs.

Nowadays pretty well every X86 CPU sold into the consumer market is 64bit.

For those who keep repeating their mantra 'Apple don't innovate any longer', really should take the blinkers off. In my mind, the A7 is a big step forward. It answers many of the questions asked about 64bit cpu's in a mobile device. It isn't perfect but nothing is really.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Sad fact of reality
by Carewolf on Tue 1st Apr 2014 07:19 in reply to "Sad fact of reality"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

Well, it 64-bit does come at a cost of more memory consumption. Unless it is packaged together with instruction set improvements like x64 and AArch64 is it will always be slower than 32-bit. So the only reason iOS has ANY benifit from 64-bit is not due to the 64-bit, but despite it.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Sad fact of reality
by renox on Tue 1st Apr 2014 11:48 in reply to "RE: Sad fact of reality"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Note that even though the transition from 32bit to 64bit address space was quite boring in x86 and ARM, it doesn't *have* to be this way: in the Mill project they use the 64-bit address space to have unified address space (but still with memory protection) which allow them to have to more efficient memory subsystem ( http://millcomputing.com/docs/memory/ ) and yes not be restricted to a tiny TLB is very important (think about the advantages for multiple processes).

I think that it would be great also if CPUs would use 64-bit pointer to allow you to have efficiently a tag field in the higher bits (which has benefits over using the lower bits as it is compatible with packed data(unaligned)) for tagging pointers (efficient GCs), tagging integers (efficient big-ints implementations)..

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Sad fact of reality
by galvanash on Tue 1st Apr 2014 14:43 in reply to "RE: Sad fact of reality"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Well, it 64-bit does come at a cost of more memory consumption. Unless it is packaged together with instruction set improvements like x64 and AArch64 is it will always be slower than 32-bit. So the only reason iOS has ANY benifit from 64-bit is not due to the 64-bit, but despite it.


The A7 is AArch64...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Sad fact of reality
by pica on Tue 1st Apr 2014 12:51 in reply to "Sad fact of reality"
pica Member since:
2005-07-10

OK, the MIPS R4000 (64bit single chip uP) based SGI Indigo was public available several month before I had to sign a NDA to join a 3 day workshop on DEC Alpha internals. That workshop was held November 1991.

pica

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Sad fact of reality
by tylerdurden on Tue 1st Apr 2014 16:50 in reply to "Sad fact of reality"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Alpha is perhaps not a very good example, since it got little traction in the marketplace (overall) and its associated development costs are one of the principal issues eventually leading to DEC's demise.

Luckily for Apple they mainly "innovate" with regards to marketing. Which in the end is the dept responsible for bringing home the bacon...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Sad fact of reality
by pica on Wed 2nd Apr 2014 09:21 in reply to "RE: Sad fact of reality"
pica Member since:
2005-07-10

Luckily for Apple they mainly "innovate" with regards to marketing. Which in the end is the dept responsible for bringing home the bacon...


Yes, it was a marketing desaster.

* the VAX arch was EOL
* the Alpha was not ready
* MIPS R3000 was marketed by Digital as VAX successor

Yes, MIPS R3000 was marketed by Digital as VAX successor and less than a year later Digital presented Alpha based systems. That was to much change for it's customers. All trust credit has been burned.

It was not cost, it was not the switch from the most complex CISC to the most risky RISC, it was simply to much change.

pica

Reply Parent Score: 2