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  #1  
Old 07-16-2017, 12:25 PM
old_and_grumpy old_and_grumpy is offline
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Default Killing off 32bit CPUs trend / end of X86 mainstream?

We will soon see the first mass produced pure 64bit SoC: Apple A11. Apple have also told developers that no MacOS 32bit apps will be supported in 2019.

We are seeing something big here.
ARM is a real 64bit chip. All todays 64bit ARM chips have both a 32bit part/registers and a 64bit part. By removing the 32bit part of the CPU they either can increase performance, add cores or make the chips cheaper. Todays ARM SoCs for high end phones are huge at upwards 130mm2. Larger than Intels largest 4 core desktop chip, and that chip wastes 50% of the die area for iGP.

What is the chip Apple will use in 2019 that removes 32bit support for macOS? Will it be "safe" and Apple moves from X86 to ARM?

Or: Is this the mystical custom ASIC that Intel designs that is not X86 compatible? Other sites like Fudo argues that Intel have licensed AMD GPUs for a custom chip to Apple. Could Intel release its first pure 64bit chip that is not compatible with x86 (without software emulation)?

Microsoft is moving to Universal windows platform. Apps compiled runs natively on X86 and ARM. Qualcomm 835 is chosen by MSFT to run virtuaPC/86 compability making all legacy X86 programs work on ARM. (its fun how Intel talks about suing MSFT for X86 on ARM. VirtuaPC have existed almost 20 years, its a bit late to sue now)

Is this FINALLY the end of X86 mainstream=
MSFT/Google moving to ARM. Apple moving to ARM/custom. Leaving highend servers to Intel (mirroring what happened Sun/SPARC vs WinTel in mid 1990)

The main reasons why ARM havent killed X86 is
1) economics. People thinks that Intel have a value and pays extra for it. Companies have profit margins. Intel CPU/Motherboard cost 500 dollars compared to ARM SoC 50 dollar. 10% profit margin is more fun on 500 dollar than 50, and people think its normal that CPU/motherboard cost 500dollars.

2) Software platform Windows. Even if Windows never have worked, it still have 95% market share. If an OS dont run full windows, it will fail on computing.

1 is the reason why Apple releases iPad "Pro" with cheap ARM chip, but still charges double mainstream PC ASP. This customer base shop stuff the same way people buys cars. Not like the "expert" customer base that look at big numbers, and that big numbers are better than design, easy of use, security and integration. (and once in a time, you could get laid if you used Apple. And I mean girls / man. Today maybe I can get laid, but its not girls thanks to Tim)

2) MSFT is moving to ARM. How great Windows could be if MSFT made own ARM chips and optimized the hardware to its OS.
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Old 07-16-2017, 12:55 PM
testbug00 testbug00 is offline
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losing backwards compatibility with everything except 64b x86 programs would be a pretty good for way Intel or AMD to kill themselves.

Apple can only pull that kind of stuff because of how tightly they control their platform.

Apple will buy a regular chip from Intel/AMD, perhaps specially binned, and turn of the support for everything besides 64b in software.
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Old 07-16-2017, 01:32 PM
gruffi gruffi is offline
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Won't happen with x86 any time soon. There are still enough 32-bit apps out there.

Btw, Microsoft is moving to ARM? In which universe?
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Old 07-16-2017, 06:11 PM
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aeassa aeassa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old_and_grumpy View Post
Todays ARM SoCs for high end phones are huge at upwards 130mm2. Larger than Intels largest 4 core desktop chip, and that chip wastes 50% of the die area for iGP.
Hate to break it to you, but the ARM SoCs for high-end phones also have large iGPU sections.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:38 AM
JeeBee JeeBee is offline
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32-bit support doesn't add much die area these days.

But it might use up valuable memory when the system is running.
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Old 07-17-2017, 03:20 AM
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I suspect that for Intel, the value from keeping x86 compatibility is higher than the cost of keeping it in their hardware.
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Old 07-17-2017, 06:50 AM
rarson rarson is offline
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Apple's userbase might be fine putting up with Apple axing major features every couple of years, but the average Windows user just wants their stuff to work, sometimes even their 15 year-old software that is only supported by Windows XP. There are a ton of people out there who don't want to move on from their old stuff and see no reason to replace old hardware that still works.

I have customers that still run Windows 98 or older.
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:10 AM
chithanh chithanh is offline
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I don't think x86 CPUs can get rid of the 32 bit mode, too much legacy system stuff still depends on it (and that is before talking about application software).

Microsoft made Windows 10 S where 64-bit ARM is equally supported as x86 (running x86 software using binary translation), but I don't see them moving to ARM yet.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:23 PM
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The "end of X86 mainstream" happened a few years ago with the loss of mind share surrounding PC's as mobile devices offered a better computing solution for consumers. Everything has been downhill for x86 since 2011-2013. "Mainstream" consumers have no use for 32-bit nor windows anymore so long as the apps they want work.

The only thing holding back ARM is closed source/less open hardware and I/O that absolutely sucks. Just image the damage Raspberry pi would be doing to the PC market if their GPU was open source/more open.
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Old 07-18-2017, 07:26 PM
hyc hyc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boom View Post
The only thing holding back ARM is closed source/less open hardware and I/O that absolutely sucks. Just image the damage Raspberry pi would be doing to the PC market if their GPU was open source/more open.
The Pi GPU is well supported, it's just a crappy GPU.

But aside from that, totally agree. Most cheap ARM SOCs are pretty lame on the I/O front. I think the Rockchip RK3399 is the first exception to this rule, with their native support of PCIe, SATA, USB3, etc.
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