Apple introduced 64-bit processor: What does it mean for mobile phones?

Apple recently launched the new iPhone 5S, which uses the A7 processor. Its biggest feature is its support for 64-bit computing. The A7 processor is also equipped with an accessory processor M7. As a result, 5S is quite powerful, and you can see Apple's future plans.

What is the improvement of 64-bit?

In theory, the 64-bit A7 processor means that iPhone performance will be greatly improved, performance and speed can be doubled; but in the real world, there may be only 15-30% performance improvement.

Some programs, if developed specifically for 64-bit iPhones, can make better use of CPU and RAM, but so far there are not many such programs.

Use a simple example to compare the benefits of 64-bit:

There is a huge library with lots of books and an administrator to help you find books. The administrator has 32 assistants who ride bicycles to pick up the books and hand them over to the administrator. One day someone came to borrow a book. He wanted all the books about dinosaurs. The library had 65 related books, so the assistants had to run three times. The first one took 32 copies, the second one was 32 books, and the last one had an assistant to run. In any case, although it takes only three books in the end, it will take three weeks.

If the library has 64 assistants, you only need to run 2 趟. This will save you a lot of time, but be aware that time is not cut in half, because in the second squat, it is still only one assistant who ran a book, although there are 63 assistants idle, but can not let Time is shortened.

If the library has 256 related books, 32 assistants will run 8 趟 and 64 will only run 4 趟.

The iPhone runs similarly. It gets data from memory. 32 bits can only process 32 bits of data in one clock cycle, and 64 bits can get 64 bits of data. This speed, performance, and efficiency are improved.

If the A7 is strong enough to be used on a laptop

Installing a 64-bit processor in a smartphone is too lethal. With a 64-bit processor, running memory can be increased to a maximum of 4GB, and today most smartphones are only 2GB or 3GB. In addition, in order to play the 64-bit function, the operating system has to be adjusted.

Some people think that if the 64-bit chip A7 may appear on the MacBook, it makes more sense to put 64 bits on the notebook.

Apple has long ported OS X to the ARM architecture. If A7 is powerful enough, it might run OS X with A7. Currently, the MacBook Air uses Intel's Haswell processor, while other models use three generations of Core i5 and i7 processors.

As for the M7 accessory processor, it collects sensor data from accelerometers, compasses, and gyroscopes to provide data for the A7 processor. The M7 can be integrated with some wearable devices.

The purpose is to develop new features?

At the press conference, Apple executive Phil Schiller said that the A7 processor supports Open GL/ES 3.0, which greatly improves game performance. He said that the A7 uses a "desktop architecture." Schiller said: "The PC world has shifted from 32 to 64. The process took several years. Today, we will see Apple transitioning in one day."

Entering the 64-bit new era, this is certainly good. But Apple can't rely on games to attract users to 64-bit. Apple needs 64-bit to provide fingerprint authentication and a camera function. In other words, 64-bit is just to make more of the more influential features available.

In the enterprise world, with 64-bit and fingerprint authentication, it can make enterprises more secure and support end-to-end VPN. With third-party support, Apple can borrow 64-bit to gain a larger presence in the enterprise space.

Apple 5S is backward compatible and developers can easily move the app to 64-bit. In a limited environment, 64-bit is a good selling point, but the mobile ecosystem needs to be fully 64-bit, and it may take as many years as a PC.

Interpretation of A7

Apple's new smartphones are likely to compete quickly on many features, but new chips inside the iPhone 5S leave competitors far behind.

Apple's senior vice president of global marketing, Phil Schiller, is explaining the A7 chip.

Apple's A7 processor is the first 64-bit processor for mobile devices, and most other smartphones use only 32-bit computing power. This advanced technology underscores Apple's ability to drive semiconductor technology, although the company's motivation to adopt the technology is not yet clear.

Intel and other high-end personal computer (PC) or server chip manufacturers have adopted 64-bit computing technology several years ago. The most direct reason is that the device is expected to support DRAM memory chips with extremely high data capacity, which greatly improves the performance of tasks such as running databases.

The 64-bit computing concept is based on the underlying technology promoted by ARM Holdings, a mobile device. Since smartphones have little room to install DRAM chips, the concept is primarily aimed at companies that are trying to transform from small device businesses to enterprise computers.

ARM has developed a 64-bit processor core design for the above application purposes, but it is expected that companies that have licensed the technology will not ship until next year. Applied Micro Circuits has also advanced its own server 64-bit computing technology, but other companies such as Nvidia are not expected to introduce 64-bit computing chips by 2015. In addition, no company in the ARM underlying technology has publicly talked about 64-bit computing chips for mobile devices.

Although Apple did not adopt ARM's core design, it developed its own design using the same computing instruction base.

And the performance improvement is evidence; Apple claims that the CPU speed is twice that of the previous chip. The demonstration of the game "Infinity Blade" seems to impress the audience.

But we still don't fully understand what is actually improving the speed. Apple said the chip has a "modern instruction set", a "desktop level" architecture and a billion transistors. Details about other elements of A7, such as the number of CPU cores and the frequency of the chip, are not so easy to obtain.

(The number of cores has been the main speculative capital of other mobile chips. Many mobile phone manufacturers have 4 cores and Samsung has up to 8 cores.)

So many "how" and "why" may have to wait until the analyst body tears off the A7 plastic packaging, begins to study what is specific on the wafer and what might affect performance.

In the real-time blog about the conference, AnandTech hardware experts sounded surprised and admired for the Apple initiative, but it is not entirely certain that users will feel the advantages.

They say that one thing is clear, double the performance is not brought up by the processor to 64-bit.

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