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Cisco and Netgear line up behind new Helix 64-bit ARM chips

James Niccolai | Oct. 2, 2014
AppliedMicro has announced a new family of 64-bit ARM chips that could disrupt the stodgy but sizeable market for components used in network routers, printers and other "embedded" equipment.

It will span a wide range of performance needs. One chip for routers will have four Helix cores running at 1.2Ghz and support fanless designs, AppliedMicro says. Most chips in that class today require fans for cooling, which runs up electricity costs.

A more powerful version will have eight 2.4Ghz cores for use in Layer 2 to Layer 4 switching equipment.

Chip maker Imagination Technologies acquired the MIPS architecture and has been trying to revive it, but it doesn't seem to be attracting many new adherents, said industry analyst Nathan Brookwood of Insight64.

"ARM has so much momentum that it's going to be very hard, I think, for anyone else," he said.

Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, sees it as a two-horse race between ARM and x86.

"With the new 64-bit capabilities of this ARM-based embedded CPU, Helix has an opportunity to fit into a wider range of designs that might not have considered ARM before," he wrote in a piece on Forbes.

 

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