You won’t live to see a 128bit CPU!

27.05.2019 46,326 21

No, we are not threatening you. We wish you a long and healthy life. 100 years and more!

You have probably seen the evolution of CPUs – from 16-bit to 32-bit CPUs and later from 32-bit to 64-bit CPUs. The logical question arises – when will 128-bit processors arrive?

128-bit CPU, when talking about computer architecture, means that this processor must have 128-bit integers and a 128-bit bus. It is not x2 better than 64-bit. It is not that simple at all.

While in the past there was a need to address more memory, the current 64-bit CPUs can handle so much RAM that you can’t even imagine. To be precise, the amount is 2^64 bytes or 18.44 exabytes. 1 exabyte is 1 billion gigabytes! You won’t see this amount of RAM probably ever in your life. 4 Gb for a 32-bit system can be sufficient or 8 Gb for normal office work on a 64-bit OS would also work. Some cutting edge devices have 64 Gb or even 128 Gb, but this is required in very few situations like heavy CAT applications or video editing.

We are currently using 64-bit processors, but usually, the bus is not 64 bits. More like 40-bit or 48-bit. This characteristic still has the possibility to improve.

Going to a 128-bit CPU from a 64-bit one will require more memory. We will need a huge cache size. Otherwise, the program will just run slowlier.

It will require a lot more power. Such a processor will be significantly bigger in size and it will release more heat too. This can be very impractical. Literally nobody wants bigger and heavier devices.

The price per wat will also be too expensive. It will be far costlier to create a 128-bit CPU.

Another disadvantage will be the need for a 128-bit OS and drivers. It will be pointless if such a processor can’t be properly utilized. For now neither Microsoft nor Apple are even thinking of creating such an OS.

One of the executives of ARM stated that the company “has no plans for 128-bit ARM-based chips because they simply aren’t needed.”

Surely one day, after many, many years we will start using 128-bits processors, but obviously, it won’t be soon.

21 replies on “You won’t live to see a 128bit CPU!”

Khashayar

A Wonderful and Beautiful article, Thank you for your precious informative content!

Albena Stoyanova

Thank you, Khashayar, for your taking time and put a comment below. We appreciate it.

Lok

I totally agree with what you have said but I have a question will 128-bit processors can improve the efficiency of data mining techniques and machine learning calculations.

Fredrick von Zuruck

Machine learning usually only uses 16 or 32 bit floats for efficiency, so I doubt there would be a need for 128.

[DATA REDACTED]

nice

MADDY

WHAT IS MORE THAN 64 BIT BUT LESS THAN 128BIT AND WHICH IS ALREADY MADE

no

no

Anonymous

No such thing exists

blue

Not because it normally does not work that way. Yes there are inbetweend sin come cases but the usual growth and bit processing goes 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096. Ect Each number doubling the one before it. It only takes 24 steps to go from 1+1, 2+2, ect to get to 16,777,216. Imagine if you were making on 1 dollar a day. But in 24 days you’d make over 16 million in that day alone. And then to only go 8 more steps you’d make over 4 BILLION in one day. And $exa dollars in one day when you hit 64. So just imaging that with making trillions OF trillions a day. Notice I didn’t say trillions and trillions but trillions OF trillions in going above 64 steps. Anyway, doubling the previous number is the typical advancements.

Girish Verma

Nice Info! Thanks!

Dirk Broer

Actually we’ve seen the evolution of CPUs – from 4-bit to 8-bit CPUs and later from 8-bit to 16-bit CPUs and later still from 16-bit to 32-bit CPUs and only then from 32-bit to 64-bit CPUs. All this was in a surprisingly short time, so the question “Will we live to see a 128bit CPU” or not that strange. Whether it is still a valid question in a few years, when quantum-compution will arrive, is another question. 128-bit CPUs may go the same way as DAT tape: technically at an apex, but obsolete at birth.

Lewes

32 and 64 bit will go the same way as 8 and 16 bit.
In only a few years time the standard will be 128, then 256 bit. The Processor architecture will have changed so much. 256 bit will be required to make computers more intelligent. The standard computer will have two processors, which will work together performing functions Re.
When 16 bit replaced 8 bit, people said 32 bit would be impossible and not needed, yet we are currently on 64 bit. Stopping processor development, will reduce sales, as there is little that can be done to improve 64 bit architecture.

T J Cook

Ok folks, now there is a 3 d processor. Unless you can play 3d chess and know matrix math, the real potential of the processor will not be totally utilized. It will and can make a 128 bit processor look like a
model T.

SKlogic

The bus between L1 and your CPU core is often wider than 128 bit. The registers are often wider than 128 bit (see SSE, NEON, etc.). We’re already there and beyond.

Razor

well if companies have the technology and has a way make 128 bit why just not make it?
Like personally think that more power is always good

Joseph

We can’t go very much smaller for longer in terms of node size. 64-bit processing is going to eventually hit a wall when they can’t stack anymore cores into a reasonably power efficient design. The article writer completely glossed over the fact that 7nm alone allows us to pack billions more transistors into a package that would have housed a single 90nm core 20 years ago. Changing to 128 bits might happen sooner than the article writer might think. Less than 20 years if current node timeline is followed. The engineers are running into leakage issues the smaller they try to get the fabrication process.

Junu Kwon

Useful article! Was clear and easy to understand.

Albena Stoyanova

Thank you, Juni, for your kind words. We are happy that you find the info useful.

Carlmeister

Except that the info was false/misleading

Albena Stoyanova

Could you give us an example what, according to you, was false and misleading?

Robin

I laughed pretty hard at the idea of this article. I mean… I’m not saying it’s wrong per say but statements like the ones suggested in this article were said years ago about memory addressable over 8 megs, and then more. Technological advancement will happen, it will happen fast and it just has to have a need which as this article rightly shows it hasn’t yet… but bigger IS getting into the market as people are going backwards in size to see if they can find a better option to go forward in other things.

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