06 | June | 2021

While some of us still stick to our favorite 8-bit microprocessors, ARM has announced that it will destroy the 32-bit architecture in 2022 and / or 2023. Above the GaryExplains YouTube channel, [Gary Sims] publishes a great review of the current 32- versus 64-bit state of affairs – not only for ARM, but also for Intel and AMD processors. And it’s a bleak prospect for you 32-bit fans.

HAND announced last fall that there will be no more 32-bit support from 2022, then this March they made a similar announcement but with a deadline of 2023. [Gary] tries to analyze these claims and makes a reasonable assumption about what the discrepancy means (spoiler warning – he predicts that another 32-bit kernel will be released soon).

[Gary] clearly breaks the 32-bit situation from operating systems such as Linux, Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS and how they are all moving to 64-bit in recent years. He does an in-depth work and concludes that the transition is already under way. And while Linux and Windows haven’t completely dropped 32-bit support, writing is on the wall.

Note, however, that this discussion concerns the Cortex-A family of cores found in smartphones, tablets, computers, and powerful embedded applications such as autonomous vehicles. The popular 32-bit Cortex-M low-cost / low-power cores used in so many embedded system projects will remain 32-bit for the foreseeable future.

After watching [Gary]presentation if you want to learn more, check the recording that [Maya Posch] made details of the latest ARMv9 ISA a few weeks ago. Also watch this 8-bit versus 32-bit presentation by our editor-in-chief [Mike Szczys]. Although it is from five years ago, it is still quite applicable today. How about 16-bit MCUs – the old built-in Intel / AMD 80186 processor, the subsequent 8051s like the 80C196, 80C251 or 8051XA, the 6502 followers like the 65C816, the Zilog’s Z8000, the Renesas M16C, and more. – someone who already uses them? If so, or if you’re using a 4-bit MCU today, let us know in the comments below.

keep reading Is it really dead 32-bit?