ARM has announced a cunning plan to conquer the servers behind the world’s web services with a 64-bit server chip. Dubbed ARMv8, the new architecture can switch between supporting the existing 32-bit ARM instruction set and a new 64-bit instruction set dubbed A64.
ARM has not done much for the server processor market. Its new 64-bit design will only now give ARM licensees the ability to build chips that Intel and AMD have been flogging to the business market.
ARM’s plan is to encourage its licensees to mix and match its designs with other blocks of intellectual property so they can build better business systems. Processors built using ARM’s new design should begin appearing in 2012 or 2013, and servers based on the new chips should arrive in 2013 or 2014.
In the long term, ARM’s new architecture could find its way into mobile devices, as the amount of main memory built into tablets and smartphones is bumped up to the point where 64-bit processors can be used.