Intel x86-S could bring a major 64-bit only revision to its chip architecture

Intel x86-S could bring a major 64-bit only revision to its chip architecture
Intel has begun detailing plans to develop 64-bit only chips. (Source: Intel)
Intel has begun detailing plans to develop 64-bit only chips. (Source: Intel)

Intel has outlined its plans to switch to 64-bit only CPU architecture in a new white paper it has published on its website. The chipmaker is seeking feedback on its architectural proposal which it hopes will lead to a more efficient, stable and secure user experience in the near future.

Intel first debuted its Intel 64 architecture over 20 years ago, and the company now believes the time has come to ditch legacy support for 32-bit software including both operating systems and software. The company has released a new white paper (pdf) outlining its plans for a next-generation CPU architecture it is calling “X86-S”, and is seeking feedback from the tech community about its plans. 

According to the company, the heart of this vision is a departure from the complexity associated with legacy architectures. Intel aims to reduce complexity to unlock greater performance and efficiency. By streamlining the architecture, resources can be optimized, resulting in improved overall system performance.

One of the key benefits of this simplified architecture is the elimination of outdated and unnecessary features. Intel aims to remove appendages that are no longer utilized by modern software, such as legacy segmentation features and support for obsolete addressing modes. This reduction in complexity not only leads to improved performance but also enhances security by eliminating potential vulnerabilities associated with outdated technologies.

At this stage, no timeline has been provided for when we can see the first X86-S chips. Apple completed its transition to 64-bit only chips, apps and operating systems with the launch of macOS Catalina back in 2020.

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