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ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the all-about-comparative-advantage dept.

Intel 260

An anonymous reader writes "Low-power processor maker ARM Holdings is stepping up rhetoric against chip rival Intel, saying it expects to take more of Intel's market share than Intel can take from them. With Intel being the No. 1 supplier of notebook PC processors, and ARM technology almost ubiquitously powering smartphones, the two companies are facing off as they both push into the other's market space. 'It's going to be quite hard for Intel to be much more than just one of several players,' ARMs CEO said of Intel."

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Where are the products ARM? (4, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 2 years ago | (#40056901)

I've been hearing about how ARM is going to destroy Intel for the last 5 years at least and I haven't seen the products yet despite the promises thrown about with the Cortex A9. It looks like the cortex A15 willl be able to beat Medfield... but you aren't getting those A15s in large quantities until next year when Intel will have the next iteration of Atom ready anyway. Oh and 64 bit? That's gone from an insanely important feature when Intel didn't have it to being useless bloat when Intel does have it and ARM doesn't, but it's OK because in 2015 you might be able to get an ARM chip with 64 bit support....

Since 2008 when the much derided Atom debuted, Intel has gone from not having anything that could remotely run a smartphone or tablet to having Medfield, which is competitive although not industry leading in the smartphone and table space. I have yet to see ARM come out with anything that even threatens a run of the mill Core 2 yet... so why is ARM talking so much trash?

It might be that ARM is a little more nervous that there is finally some real competition in the mobile space, which is a boon to consumers. I'd like to see AMD get an x86 solution down into this power envelope too so that there would be multiple competitors on the x86 side as well.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40056921)

AMD already has Bobcats. The low-end Fusion package has a TDP of 18W, including two 1.6GHz Bobcats and 80 Radeon stream processors. My Fusion-based netbook idles at 9 or 10 watts.

Intel isn't competitive in this market segment, and they seem to not care about it.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (3, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 2 years ago | (#40056959)

My Fusion-based netbook idles at 9 or 10 watts.

AMD still needs to shave the idle power by a factor of 5 to get into tablets and 10 to get into smartphones. I think they can do it, but Bobcat is not the chip for that market.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (3, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057033)

No, a tablet needs a chip with a 2W TDP, not a 2W idle; similarly, a phone needs one with a 1W TDP, not 1W idle.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057087)

Good smartphone CPUs have on the order of 20mW standby power draw. Factor of 500.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5365/intels-medfield-atom-z2460-arrive-for-smartphones

Re:Where are the products ARM? (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057269)

Uh, I think you're confusing max power with idle. The idle power needs to be way down in the milliwatt range, though it also doesn't need to do much of anything in that state. ARM got a ton of experience with that kind of low power. Intel got the money and the superior processing tech. AMD would need to pull a rabbit out of the hat to not be second runner up in that competition.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (3, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057189)

Atom was running at a TDP of half the TDP of your Bobcat, and it was doing it 5 years ago. That wonderful 18W TDP that you cite for AMD Fusion/Bobcat? Yeah... that's actually the same as the Celeron U3600 in my ultraportable laptop... sure the Celeron is running at 1.2GHz instead of the 1.6GHz for the Bobcat, but the U3600 outperforms a Core2 Duo T5450 on benchmarks, let alone the AMD Fusion ( http://www.cpubenchmark.net/midlow_range_cpus.html [cpubenchmark.net] ... you'll have to scroll down quite a bit to reach the AMD E-450 Fusion, which is the highest rated AMD Fusion on the list), and the graphics have not had a problem with anything I've thrown at it. The only reason that my 13" lappy doesn't have the same battery life as your netbook is because the screen has 4x the real estate with the same size battery. That's a compromise I'm willing to make, since I get a larger screen, a full-size keyboard, more memory, and a much more usable system out of the equation... it still lasts 4h on battery, which isn't bad for a $400 laptop.

And the U3600 is the *last* generation of Intel's offerings. The current generation uses even less power. And if that's not good enough for you, you can still switch to an Atom, which uses even *less* power than either, but has a corresponding power tradeoff

Yeah. Right. Intel's being utterly dominated by AMD in that arena.....

They *are* being dominated in power consumption, however. Just not by AMD. Intel is talking about TDP of 15W in their consumer hardware. ARM is talking about TDP of 2W.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (2, Informative)

Certhas (2310124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057333)

The trade off is different, you accept no graphics for more CPU vs Bobcat, and pay significantly more for it. Last I checked Bobcat was 30% cheaper. AMD has had absolutely zero problems selling its chips.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (0)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057379)

I would hardly call 80 stream processors in Bobcat a huge leap in graphics. Call me when they pack 300 or more stream processors on die. The latest video cards have over 2000 stream processors.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057819)

you accept no graphics for more CPU vs Bobcat, and pay significantly more for it

Please find me an ultraportable AMD-based laptop that costs less than $500. If you can't, then your point is moot, because including tax & delivery, I paid about $450 for my laptop from Dell. They're selling its successor for $459, which is a little more but has higher specs (Vostro V131 if you want to look it up, my laptop is a V130). It's available with Ubuntu at that price, too, for the Linux folks.

While you're looking for that, you may also want to check some benchmarks... http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/video_lookup.php?gpu=Intel+HD+Celeron+U3600 [videocardbenchmark.net] You might, upon reading, notice that it gets almost exactly the same score in PassMark that the AMD does.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (5, Insightful)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057001)

The only Intel consumer product ARM licensees are currently able to threaten is the Atom product line. Apart from that, both kinds of CPUs are simply serving two completely different purposes.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (4, Interesting)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057267)

The only Intel consumer product ARM licensees are currently able to threaten is the Atom product line. Apart from that, both kinds of CPUs are simply serving two completely different purposes.

Yeah, but...

The only reason my ultraportable laptop has an Intel Celeron U3600 in it (1.2GHz dual core arrandale, 18W TDP) instead of an ARM is because I couldn't find a laptop in the same class with an ARM chip. They're serving completely different markets, but ARM is easily powerful enough for most users (just look at the R-Pi running 1080p H.264 video over HDMI), and there's absolutely no reason my laptop needs an x86 processor. I just couldn't, at the time, find a 13" ultraportable with an ARM chip in it. (closest I could find was an ASUS Transformer, but I want to run a full desktop OS on it, not Android, and it was actually more expensive than I paid for my laptop).

BTW, if somebody can find one now, I'd love to hear about it... I'm not in the market right now, but I like to know about that kind of thing for when I'm shopping next time... and also so I can make suggestions for family. :)

Re:Where are the products ARM? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057439)

Give it another year. With Windows 8 for ARM systems it's inevitable that we'll see more powerful devices spill into the low-power segment between tablet transformers and netbooks/subnotebooks.

give it another year (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057827)

and we will indeed have Windows 8 on ARM and we will be saying what a POS with its walled garden that makes Apple's one look like the Argentinian Pampas. No side loading, no nothing.
Their stance on Boot unlocking will make ARM PC's a distant dream unless you are running Windows.
I fully expect that they will use the full force of their lawyers to ensure that it remains a monopoly.

Personally, I'd like at least one manufacturer to have the balls to lock down the Boot on their ARM PC's so they can boot everything but Windows. That should satisfy MS and give them a tremendous USP.
But will they? That is the question...

What about tomorrow? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057395)

What you are saying is true today, but what about tomorrow?

I am still reading the articles, but IIRC ARM was going to launch a line of low end server CPU in about 2 years - which would aim squarely at Intel. As ARM grows, both Intel and ARM will start invading each others territories.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057035)

ARM *did* bloody well destroy Intel in the smartphone and tablet spaces. This is not some old ancient niche that ARM has wrapped up -- these products and markets only appeared within the past 5 years or so.

So yes, if you heard people saying that ARM would destroy Intel 5 years ago, they would be right, because Intel has tried and failed to field parts in these markets.

ARM, on the other hand, has not yet tried to compete in PC or server markets. If anybody tried to tell you that ARM was going to destroy Intel in those markets, they obviously were pulling shit out their arses. ARM simply did not have (public) plans to compete here like they do now, although now and again some random company or another tries to put ARMs in low power servers or laptops. Now you see when they do announce plans, they are hoping to take 10-20% of notebook PC market -- that's hardly "destroying" Intel, is it? So what you have been hearing is baloney from idiots, the remedy for that is to stop listening to idiots.

Medfield doesn't change much. Like everything else, it's been a day late and a dollar short. It showed that Intel is actually capable of producing something with a sane idle power draw, but really, we knew that couldn't be black magic anyway. That's not to say that Intel can't take the lead in future, but for now nothing has changed. ARM has some fundamental advantage with instruction set architecture in low power space, but Intel has advantages with manufacturing and process technology, and probably could devote more resources into low power CPU design than ARM too.

Also, it's not the A15 that really changes things a great deal, in my opinion. It looks like a great design, and it's probably a little higher, relatively, than A9 was. But what has really enabled them to compete in this market space is Android and Windows/ARM (and maybe small chance of Apple doing ARMs in some notebooks too), not some sudden big improvement in the hardware.

Their first 64-bit design may be significantly different. It may be a real intention to get into server and/or higher end personal markets.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057271)

ARM, on the other hand, has not yet tried to compete in PC or server markets.

Yes they did [chriswhy.co.uk] although the venture failed in the end (not necessarily because of the chips). The amusing part is that one of the more widely known models used an ARM chip made by... Intel. I don't disagree with the rest of what you say, but it seemed like an appropriate time to bring up an often overlooked piece of kit.

We had a couple of those quite some time ago, and I don't mind saying that loading the OS from ROM made for some pretty speedy boots. One wonders how differently ARM would be seen today if Windows had been ported to ARM much earlier.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057831)

>We had a couple of those quite some time ago, and I don't mind saying that loading the OS from ROM made for some pretty speedy boots.

How does it compare with x86 coreboot + linux? One can get the kernel loaded there in ~1 second.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057331)

CPU fanboyism?? God this is a virus which is infecting every single human being related topic. OS, Programming languages, countries, parties, and now CPUs?

Re:Where are the products ARM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057391)

CPU fanboyism?? God this is a virus which is infecting every single human being related topic. OS, Programming languages, countries, parties, and now CPUs?

Never heard about Z80 vs 6502? And the 1802 guy standing by, smiling.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (3, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057339)

ARM, on the other hand, has not yet tried to compete in PC or server markets

Actually, they have. And they succeeded for many years. They used to be known as Acorn, and provided processors for *many* systems in the 1980's and early 1990's. The very first generation known as ARM was powering the BBC Micro in 1987, and there's several other computers made around that time that used Acorn hardware.

It is a different market, today, than it was in the 80's, though... most mainstream Linux distros have an ARM version available, and even Microsoft is going to be officially supporting ARM. It was Microsoft's anti-competitive moves in the early 90's that killed ARM in the desktop, and now that MS has 90% desktop market share, if they're supporting ARM, it's a good time for them to make a move.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (4, Informative)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057645)

This is not some old ancient niche that ARM has wrapped up -- these products and markets only appeared within the past 5 years or so.

5 years or so? Not if you count the Apple Newton [wikipedia.org] (1993), the Psion Series 5 [wikipedia.org] (1997) the HP iPaq [wikipedia.org] (2000) and (I think) the Sharp Zaurus (late 90s-mid 00s) - although I think the last 2 actually used Intel's StrongArm or XScale ARM chips. There are also things that never made it [chriswhy.co.uk] but helped set the stage for ARM's share of the mobile and embedded markets.

So yes, smartphones and tablets have boomed in the last 5 years, after Apple came up with a winning formula and everybody else jumped on the bandwagon, but the ideas have been bubbling under for years, and ARM got its feet under the table 20 years ago.

And Intel has a trick up their sleeve (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057089)

22nm lithography. Intel is, as usual, a node ahead of basically everyone else. Other fabs just got their 28nm half node online not long ago, late last year. So we are seeing products based on that start appearing on the market. The current nVidia and AMD GPUs would be some notable ones, but there are (or at least will be) ARM chips too.

Intel though, they didn't do the 28nm half node (they haven't done half nodes so far), they went straight to the 22nm node and it is online and running full swing. Ivy Bridge chips using it have shipped in large quantities.

What that means is Intel can pack more transistors in to a given die size, and have them use less power per transistor. For mobile, that is a big advantage. That means even in the event their shit does less per transistor, they can make it up with more transistors. Also means things like 64-bit are less problematic to implement (64-bit requires more transistors).

Now I've no idea if Intel what arenas Intel will choose to compete in, but if I were ARM I wouldn't be looking forward to direct competition. I'd hope it remains largely how it is: Intel focusing on the high end (from netbooks all the way up) ARM focusing on the low end (from tablets all the way down). No competition, no problem. I wouldn't be enthused about the prospect of having to compete with someone in the low power market who has a better process.

Intel is likely to keep the advantage too. Everyone else is hard at work setting up their 22nm fabs, but they are probably at least a year away, maybe more. Intel? They've been hard at work building Fab 42 inc Chandler which is to be their first 14nm facility. They say they'll have it online in 2013 (it'll be some time after it goes online until chips are shipping to consumers though), and they are pretty good about hitting their marks on that.

It is one of the things that has given them an edge is their massive R&D in to fabs that keeps them a node ahead of everyone. ARM can't do that, they are just a design company, not a fab, and none of the other companies that do fab work seem to be willing to plow in the R&D money that Intel is.

Re:And Intel has a trick up their sleeve (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057335)

this is only part of the equation. ARM have a simpler, more efficient architecture, a licensing model, an ecosystem (radios, OSes...) that Intel lacks.

Re:And Intel has a trick up their sleeve (3, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057657)

"ARM have a simpler, more efficient architecture"

ARM fans say that like an article of faith, but I never see any proof of it. Show me the proof that an ARM chip can do more than an Intel chip, controlling for all variables. Take something like, say, solving systems of linear equations, one of the grand daddy of computation tests (linpack is a popular tool for it). Show me an arm chip doing better on linpack in terms of Mflops/FPU area or something, then I'll say ok it is more efficient.

However it seems to me all ARM fans have to go on is that ARM makes tiny chips. Ok, they do... so what? Intel's chips are bigger but they do a hell of a lot more. Not only do they do faster calculations, but they have more features (like a 64-bit architecture). So calling them "inefficient" is silly without some kind of metric.

So like I said, how about FPU area? ARM chips aren't 64-bit, but their FPU should be, and I've seen ARM chips with vector units. So take the area of the FPU on chip, and see what it can crank away on linpack. Then take the area of an Ivy Bridge and do the same. Adjust for clock differences and see what you have.

Re:And Intel has a trick up their sleeve (2)

mechtech256 (2617089) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057889)

Medfield is on 32nm.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (-1, Flamebait)

jkrise (535370) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057129)

ARM need not do anything to completely destroy Intel in a few years from now. Intel tied up with evil Microsoft to add more and more bloat to the X86 CPUs to run more and more bloated OSes. But for the tablet PC factor, the power requirements and bloat completely makes Wintel an unsuitable proposition.

5 years from now Android tablets with large form factor will completely replace netbooks and a sizable fraction of the desktop market as well. And the default architecture will be the ARM processor and Android will be the default OS. Good riddance to the unholy Wintel alliance for good.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057349)

This assumes Android finds a way to handle keyboard and mouse (and probably windowing+multitasking), and to dock, nicely and cheaply.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057441)

Android does handle keyboards, I don't know about mouse. It also does multitasking, but in an incovenient way (it is missing shortucuts). Windowing is overated on a 12" netbook screen.

I doubt Android will make a dent on any larger form than a netbook. But ARM isn't restricted to it.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (2)

Johnny O (22313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057809)

I plugged my wireless Logitech Keyboard/Mouse combo usb dongle into my Arnova 10G2 tablet and the mouse comes up as a red outline cursor and the keyboard works flawlessly. I was rather shocked that 2.3.1 handled that out of the box.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057489)

The battle is for the next generation of mobile. ARM is not going to take Intel's desktop share anytime soon. The Core i Series is sufficiently powerful where Intel doesn't have to worry. Intel isn't coming anywhere near ARM's low power offerings. The battle ground will be in the middle where there is a tradeoff between power efficiency and computational power for portable devices. Tablets and to some extent laptops will be where the two see who will win. For laptops, Intel is pushing their ultrabook specification trying to keep the laptop market. ARM is pressing into tablets with their advantage.

Re:Where are the products ARM? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057507)

It's the same as when people said cell processors would take over and Intel/x86 etc were finished.

you sound like an industry outsider (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057847)

I have Cortex-A15s in the lab right now, finished simulation and verification, and samples are being boxed up this week, and we're shipping them this year. And for quantity we can do as many as TSMC can make for us. Then it boils down to if any devices makers are willing to pay the premium we have to charge for the bigger faster chip. You will see about half of Jellybean devices running a Cortex-A15, and nearly all Windows 8 devices when it first ships.

No (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40056911)

Low-power processor maker ARM Holdings

ARM Holdings do not "make" processors, low powered or otherwise. They design, they develop, and they certainly license. But they don't make.

Interestingly from a Slashdot point of view they're probably the most high profile example of an "IP" company with a positive image.

Re:No (2)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057287)

Low-power processor maker ARM Holdings

ARM Holdings do not "make" processors, low powered or otherwise.

Indeed not. In fact, Intel [wikipedia.org] themselves have made their fair share of ARM chips.

Re:No (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057465)

Interestingly from a Slashdot point of view they're probably the most high profile example of an "IP" company with a positive image.

The ones that actualy do research, and develop usefull products are normaly seen with a positive image. The ones too small to have everybody know what they do, and the ones that generate "IP" without developing anything usefull normaly have a negative image.

It isn't fair to those too small ones, but tat is how things are.

Re:No (2)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057585)

Wouldn't the companies too small to be noticed not have an image at all?

Simple math, silly! (1, Interesting)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40056915)

Of course ARM will take more from Intel than Intel will from ARM. But it's stupid math.

Take the desktop market. If ARM has 0% of the desktop market, and Intel has 65%, there's nothing for Intel to take from ARM. If ARM sells just 1 desktop, they've taken more from Intel than Intel took from them. But it's a meaningless stat.

Re:Simple math, silly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40056927)

Of course ARM will take more from Intel than Intel will from ARM. But it's stupid math.

Take the desktop market. If ARM has 0% of the desktop market, and Intel has 65%, there's nothing for Intel to take from ARM

Question: if instead of taking (presumably at random?) an example where ARM has no market share and Intel does, would it make any difference to your anaysis if we instead took the mobile phone market where the exact opposite is true?

Re:Simple math, silly! (2)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40056977)

TFA mentions smartphones and notebooks. Intel is just now venturing into smartphones, so any money from that is "found money." In that market, Intel will be taking more from ARM than ARM can possibly take from Intel.

The notebook market is different, but even there, the numbers don't mean much. If the market doubles in size, and ARM takes the lowest 20% of it, so what? That just means that Intel gets the higher-margin stuff - the formula that Apple's been using for years.

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057019)

Intel is just now venturing into smartphones, so any money from that is "found money." In that market, Intel will be taking more from ARM than ARM can possibly take from Intel.

Right. This is the point. Anything ARM take in the laptop market is "found money" in your terms - an extra for them, all loss to Intel. Anything Intel can take from ARM in smartphones is, as you say, "found money" for Intel, all loss to ARM. What ARM are saying, rightly or wrongly, is that as they both target each others markets in this way, that ARM will be gaining more overall than Intel will. Now they may be right, or they may be wrong, but do you understand now what their claim is and why it doesn't relate to simple maths around the desktop market?

Re:Simple math, silly! (2)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057077)

ARM won't take anything from the server or desktop market, so the only current Intel market left is laptops.

Nobody's going to junk hundreds or thousands of dollars of software just to save $50 by buying an ARM laptop instead of an x86.

So who's the market? People who don't have any legacy software (so forget business users or anyone who already owns a computer). Even they will mostly stick with Intel, because let's face it, almost everyone who has a computer has at least one application/game/whatever that needs Windows on x86.

It's why we haven't seen the Year of the Linux Desktop, and never will. OTOH, we *might* see a Year of the Android laptop sometime this decade ... which could be interesting.

ARM still has a ways to go before getting any 64-bit cpus into the market. That's not good, not when you consider that most consumers consider 4 gigs as the minimum nowadays for a half-decent laptop.

Ultimately, the incremental cost of going Intel is not going to be enough to offset most people who are buying their first laptop, and most of the rest are already locked in to x86 for the foreseeable future. Just try to take an x86 macbook away from it's owner.

Re:Simple math, silly! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057109)

Modding urself up again! Ur a troll w\ multiple sockpuppet reg accts on /. (4 modding urself up n others down): Proof is barbara.hudson@unjava.com from http://slashdot.org/~Barbara%2C+not+Barbie [slashdot.org] = barbara.hudson@barbara-hudson.com from http://slashdot.org/~tomhudson [slashdot.org] .

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057305)

ARM can easily grab something in the server market. Many server tasks are already bound to be able to scale out and parallelize to tens or hundreds or thousands of chips (serving millions of concurrent requests). In that setting, replacing each big x86 core with e.g. 16 ARM cores with lower total TDP is a viable concept. It is only in tasks where single-thread latency is a critical thing where ARM cannot compete. And that's an ever slimmer part of high-performance desktop workloads, as well as some specific server and HPC tasks. Some algorithms simply do not parallelize well, but serving loads of independent web users is relatively easy to parallelize and that's honestly what most servers are doing.

However, I am quite confident that Intel will stay and become quite viable in tablets and high-end smartphones. They have the process knowledge and they are certainly good enough at designing chips. And the x86 ISA itself, to the dismay of many, is not that much of an issue.

Re:Simple math, silly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057851)

Don't Intel have an answer to this with Knight's Cross etc.?

Re:Simple math, silly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057581)

You forget that even these days you can get decent performance form 1 gig of ram (at least if you do not run windows), 4 is already 3 that are luxury. Of course this then becomes an operating system argument, but if you are going to ditch x86 then the rest is easy. Unfortunately no one has tried to make a good mid-range arm (yet, this is what TFA is hinting at), but extrapolating from the Raspberry Pi and high end phones (which can exceed this spec 2 times or more) you end up in the region of £100. If you add the operating system word processor and x86 premium together the cost difference is much greater and you haven't lost anything extra. This gives a total price difference of around 2.7-4.5 times cheaper even choosing the most efficient win7 set up (see below).

Assuming £95 peripherals, £70 screen and £15 for sound mouse and keyboard a £100 arm box +with £0 software is under £200 total The x86 windows system comes to around £546. The hardware for reasonable win7 performance is £300 and the software is £151 (£66 cheapest OEM windows 7 + £85 cheapest Microsoft office, assuming that you use free software for everything else). If you use second hand peripherals the Arm Linux system ends up over 4 times cheaper.

Re:Simple math, silly! (-1, Troll)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057885)

Except that you're ignoring a few things ...

Linux distros have, in the last couple of years, gotten worse, not better. Breakage on updates, never mind upgrades, has become too much of a problem. After 15 years of using linux as my main (and often only) desktop, after Opensuse crapped out on an upgrade - repeatedly, then switching to Fedora 16, which became so unstable after several updates that the computer had to be rebooted multiple times just to load the OS, fresh install and update repeated the problem, Debian not handling the display OR the keyboard properly, Slackware ... well, any OS that goes for 2 months with no patches or bug fixes is dead, a few others, I dug out the old XP disk and the computer has been working flawlessly for a month - and it's much faster than it ever was under Linux.

Bonus - my "linux" printer works. And I can actually play SimCity 4 or anything else if I want to just "zone out" for a while.

Even if I valued my time at the minimum wage, linux turned out to be way too expensive.

That's why I now tell people to go back to using FreeBSD for servers (upgrades go much better), and if they can get a Mac, more power to them; otherwise, Win7 is okay. Linux? Every one of my former coworkers has also abandoned it, for the same reason - it's not stable, hardware support too often sucks, and who needs the hassles? If you miss the terminal and command-line utilities, just download cygwin.

Linux distros collectively have reached the unsingularity - every new feature either introduces a new bug or takes away functionality elsewhere. No thanks.

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057649)

ARM won't take anything from the server or desktop market, so the only current Intel market left is laptops.

We are heading into an era of performance per watt. I imagine data warehouses would appreciate the $$$ savings for running low-power servers.

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057915)

Sure, but ARM isn't the only game in town. And since nobody is selling much in the way of ARM 64-bit cpus, ARM isn't even an option for many server workloads.

Re:Simple math, silly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057093)

Ur a troll w\ multiple sockpuppet reg accts on /. (4 modding urself up n others down): Proof is barbara.hudson@unjava.com from http://slashdot.org/~Barbara%2C+not+Barbie [slashdot.org] = barbara.hudson@barbara-hudson.com from http://slashdot.org/~tomhudson [slashdot.org] .

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057137)

Every ARM chip which is sold makes ARM money.If more ARM chips are being sold than last year, they will make more money than last year. While I'm sure ARM would love to capture the top of the range market too, they'll certainly be happy if they can swallow Intel's low end market share.

The headline quote is that ARM think that they will eat more of Intel's desktop market than Intel will eat of their phone/tablet market. ARM are a chip seller (er, designer), so why wouldn't they see all devices with computer chips as one big market? Do you think it bothers them how big a screen is attached to the device their chip is in, whether it's touchscreen, whether it has a mouse? That's for the the likes of Dell and Samsung to worry about.

I've always been sceptical about ARM's ability to muscle in on the traditional desktop market, not least because of Windows and its monolithic ecosystem of x86 software. I suspect ARM shared that scepticism. With MS now looking to make a real go with Windows on ARM, that's probably what has revived their spirits and caused them to have another assault on that bit of the chip market. And good luck to them, I say...

Re:Simple math, silly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057159)

Intel is not "just now" venturing into smartphones. They have tried and failed before with earlier Atom attempts, and their newest Medfield Atom is unremarkable against old designs of over a year old. And they have paid companies to market essentially their reference designs. They have poured money into smartphones, so you are completely uninformed: any money is not "found money".

Secondly, it is certainly possible for ARM to eventually take some server market in places. Some companies actually *will* be happy to modify their software base if it means getting a hardware edge. Google controls their entire server stack, either having written it themselves, or having used open source software, for example. They would certainly use ARM if it suited their needs and provided some advantage over x86 (the advantage would have to be non zero, because there would be non zero pain in supporting ARM of course, but it would not amount to scrapping their investments -- most of the code they use is ARM portable anyway). They have evaluated using ARM in the past too, and will do so in future. So on that point, you're uninformed too.

Re:Simple math, silly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057895)

Modding urself up again! Ur a troll w\ multiple sockpuppet reg accts on /. (4 modding urself up n others down): Proof is barbara.hudson@unjava.com from http://slashdot.org/~Barbara%2C+not+Barbie [slashdot.org] = barbara.hudson@barbara-hudson.com from http://slashdot.org/~tomhudson [slashdot.org]

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#40056931)

I guess if you consider Arm's "market share" to be tablets and Intel's "market share" to be Windows and OSX computers then the article summary might make more sense.

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 2 years ago | (#40056949)

Yeah, but Intel can cut into ARM sales in the mobile market.

Re:Simple math, silly! (2, Insightful)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057017)

TFA is really dumb. It combines two very separate markets - notebooks and smartphones.

It makes the assumption - always wrong - that people don't want more cpu. People ALWAYS want more cpu. I remember back when pundits were writing "there will never be a consumer market for dual-core processors." Now a dual-core notebook is "bottom of the line".

So ARM will take some of the bottom of that market @$20 per cpu. Intel will take the $80 - $200 per cpu market.

Plus, people want software compatibility. Windows on ARM is all well and good, but nobody's going to re-buy a thousand bucks worth of software to save $50 on a laptop.

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057427)

I fundamentally disagree. People want a computer that works. Ever increasing power is a dead end. Average people have no use for the supercomputers we have under our desks NOW. Dual core processor in the consumer space is because the chip companies couldnt go faster so they went wider, not for pent up demand for more power from the average joe.

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057743)

I fundamentally disagree. People want a computer that works. Ever increasing power is a dead end. Average people have no use for the supercomputers we have under our desks NOW

Average people DO have a use for the "supercomputers" under their desks. Otherwise, everyone would still be buying sub-gigahertz semprons. But software continues to get more bloated, and "managed code" imposes even more of an overhead.

Could you run, say, the latest Fedora or Suse on a p266 with 64 megs? That was a hot machine at one time ... but things change.

Dual core processor in the consumer space is because the chip companies couldnt go faster so they went wider,

... which kind of disproves your first statement - since there was a demand for more power, and they couldn't go faster on one core, they went to multiple cores.

It's about what people are willing to pay for. People aren't comparing the $20 ARM against the $100 x86 - they're comparing the whole package. So an x86 that is even 25% more useful is worth the extra bucks, because of what it brings to the whole package. Not to mention that ARM is still struggling to get any significant number of 64-bit chips onto the market, and that's not going to change for several years; with ram being so cheap, plenty of people have 6, 8, 12, 16, even 32 gigs of ram on their desktops. That, plus multi-core goodness, increasingly lets them run VMs.

Re:Simple math, silly! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057913)

URA troll w\ multiple sockpuppet reg accts on /. (2 upmod urself n others down): Proof's barbara.hudson@unjava.com from http://slashdot.org/~Barbara%2C+not+Barbie [slashdot.org] = barbara.hudson@barbara-hudson.com from http://slashdot.org/~tomhudson [slashdot.org]

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057919)

Average people DO have a use for the "supercomputers" under their desks. Otherwise, everyone would still be buying sub-gigahertz semprons. But software continues to get more bloated, and "managed code" imposes even more of an overhead.

For sub-gigahertz semprons? Maybe.

Yet, if we do a realistic comparison and consider, for example, an AMD Athlon X2 (which is the cheapest CPU that was available at a local hardware store) then exactly what do people actually get by purchasing a beefier CPU? Do they get a better user experience exchanging emails, browsing facebook and seeing youtube clips? They don't.

After a certain threshold, it's irrelevant if you get to run your computer games any faster, and you can't possibly justify spending twice as much on a piece of hardware if the only thing that gets you is the ability to run a computer game at 200fps instead of 150fps. Sure, it might look good in a marketing blurb to claim that your product is 33% faster than the competitor's, but the practical result of that is perfectly irrelevant for any user.

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057545)

On mobiles, plenty of people don't want more CPU. Unless that extra CPU comes with no cost on either battery life or weight, what is not the case.

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057817)

On mobiles, plenty of people don't want more CPU. Unless that extra CPU comes with no cost on either battery life or weight, what is not the case.

... because Intel never improves their instructions-per-clock-cycle rate, or comes out with a lower-power version of any cpu, and nobody ever developed a better battery technology, or lighter components, a more energy-efficient display, less power-hungry SoC, or made a better compiler, or software that was less bloated and more efficient ...

... okay, that last one might be a bit of a stretch ... ;-p

Re:Simple math, silly! (4, Insightful)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057861)

It makes the assumption - always wrong - that people don't want more cpu. People ALWAYS want more cpu.

Your assertion is dissociated from reality. It completely ignores the netbook phenomenon, not to mention the inception of smartphones and tablet computers.

People don't buy these devices because they "want more CPU". After a certain level, the "CPU" amount is irrelevant and its practical effects are completely unnoticeable. There is a good reason why hardware companies rely on artificial benchmarks designed to push the hardware in completely unrealistic, useless and impractical scenarios to be able to compare their hardware against the competitor's offering, and therefore justify a higher asking price.

To drive the point home, I can tell you my personal case. My last two hardware purchases were a netbook and a smartphone, which, by today's standards, are considerably lacking o the "CPU" department. Yet, they are by far the two pieces of hardware which I use the most. I also have a desktop and a laptop which I've purchased a few years ago, and I actually use them for serious stuff which actually require real CPUs to crunch real numbers. I'm talking about structural analysis and CAD work. In spite of actually having to use a computer to actually do some serious number crunching to actually get a meaningful result, unlike calculating pi to the nth digit after the decimal point, the fact is that both my archaic desktop and laptop are more than capable of handling heavy workloads required for practical engineering work.

And this without even relying on OpenCL to take advantage of the hardware which is already present in the system and basically never leaves the idle state.

So, in short, contraty to what you said, people actually "don't want more cpu". People actaully know that they can't notice it after a certain point, which was actually passed about half a dozen years ago, and people are also aware that the inflated price tag associated with having "more cpu" actually doesn't justify the diminishing returns they get with that purchase. What they want is cheaper stuff that is actually good enough to get the job done, and if the job in mind is checking email, facebook and any other mundane tasks then people do know that the price tag of a supercomputer is completely unjustified, when they can easily get away with it by purchasing a glorified cellphone, with or without an embedded keyboard.

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057013)

I'm guessing ARM sees it as the assimilation of the mobile realm into the traditional "personal computing" market. In that case, ARM has a near monopoly in devices that I wouldn't be shocked far out-volume the traditional desktops and laptops. ARM won't be touching what has traditionally been Intel's market, but it may be influencing it by making it smaller, as people substitute into ARM powered tablets and that kind of thing. ARM really only stands to lose share in what has been it's traditional market (but still may increase its volume as that market is growing rapidly).

It won't be a substitute though (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057111)

Smaller computers may sell more than bigger ones, but they don't replace them. Take the mainframe. The desktop didn't kill it, in fact there are more of them now than when they were all you could buy. That doesn't mean there are very many, but the desktop didn't kill it off. It just eclipsed it in numbers. Same shit with laptops and desktops. Laptops are more popular (particularly if you count netbooks) but desktops are still everywhere. Their sales aren't growing a ton, but aren't shrinking either.

Same deal with smartphones and tablets. While a few people may be obsessed with them replacing all computers, most aren't interested. Much harder to do content creation, even when that content is just a Word document, on a little tablet than on a desktop or laptop with keyboard, mouse, and big screen.

I'm sure that smartphones will totally outstrip computer sales, I'm also sure they won't kill off computer sales.

Re:It won't be a substitute though (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057449)

Why would a desktop replace a mainframe? They fill very different roles and are only related by being computers. We dont replace Semis with Toyota Corollas

Re:Simple math, silly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057053)

FTA:

"[ARM] expects to take more of Intel's share in the notebook personal-computer market than Intel can take from it in the smartphone market."

Re:Simple math, silly! (1, Insightful)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057127)

The article misses an obvious fact - the small market that arm will take is all on the no-profit, low-end, first-time notebook buyer.

Anyone who already has an x86 laptop is going to stick with x86, just to maintain software compatibility. Ditto for anyone with a legacy application. Ditto for anyone who wants to run games (and everyone wants to run the odd game here and there).

So, who's going to buy this? People who used to be called the "netbook" market.

In other words, cheap, bottom-of-the-barrel, almost-no-profit and few needs.

In other words, they'll take sales away from an already dying market, leaving Intel the higher-margin / higher-priced market.

That's the same strategy Apple has used for years.

It really is about the ability to run existing programs, otherwise we'd already have the Year of the Linux Desktop.

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057467)

You keep mentioning the software stack. MOST people with computers dont have $1000's invested in windows software (games being the notable exception). We have seen the end of windows as the de facto standard, its time you start realizing it.

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057797)

You keep mentioning the software stack. MOST people with computers dont have $1000's invested in windows software

I guess you're talking about pirates. I know I have thousands invested in software.

games being the notable exception

That's a pretty big exception, don't you think?

We have seen the end of windows as the de facto standard, its time you start realizing it.

Please call me back when my colour laser "windows, mac and linux" mfp actually works under linux ... and when, after I finally get it to work, the next upgrade doesn't hose it for a year.

Ditto my camcorder.

Ditto my 4-video+audio-stream real-time hardware mpeg encoder.

BTW, how's that video driver thing working out for you again? And all those DirectX games?

I'm not going to jump for about it, but the fact is that Microsoft and Apple are a duopoly on regular computers, and Apple and Android on mobile. Those are the de facto standards today.

Re:Simple math, silly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057097)

Modding urself up again I see. Ur a troll w\ multiple sockpuppet reg accts on /. (4 modding urself up n others down): Proof is barbara.hudson@unjava.com from http://slashdot.org/~Barbara%2C+not+Barbie [slashdot.org] = barbara.hudson@barbara-hudson.com from http://slashdot.org/~tomhudson [slashdot.org] .

Re:Simple math, silly! (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057363)

Reciprocally, Intel has 0% phone and tablet share, so I don't see how the initial statement is "idiot math" (sic). Yours on the other end...

Random idea (4, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40056919)

Intel gets my respect for being one of the few companies to invest heavily into research. Seriously, they do a lot of "fundamental research" work, and so far, it's worked well for them. They develop products all the time that never get released because they're too "experimental" - Larrabee is the example that comes to mind first - and justify the expense because the information learned is worth the $100M they spent on an unreleasable product.

Intel, you can hedge your bets. Take one of your teams - rumor has it the Itanium team won't be working on that much longer - and tell them to make a desktop-quality ARM processor. You've already got the ARM license, do something with it. Figure out how to bump up the clockspeed (if *Apple* can do it, so can you), throw cache at it, bring the core count up to eight or so. Target your own Core i3 chips both in speed and in cost.

You do that, Intel, and you basically can't lose (barring sudden inexplicable incompetence). If the ARM desktop project completely fails, well, you just proved that x86 chips are unbeatable on the desktop market (which will never completely disappear). If the project succeeds, you'll win no matter which architecture comes out on top, and you'll have the advantage of having an experienced ARM team to help you take the best features of ARM and put them in your mobile x86 chips.

Re:Random idea (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40056979)

*Apple* doesn't do shit, 99.99% of their processors (development included) is from Samsung Korean shop

Re:Random idea (2)

ommerson (1485487) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057125)

Actually, it's not - large amounts of it are licensed from 3rd parties - as is the way with all ARM SoC devices - which Samsung then fabricates using its process.

Re:Random idea (3, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057115)

Intel is not threatened by technical advantages of ARM per se, it is more about the business logistics inherent in the ARM ecosystem. If x86 is a requirement, your choices are Intel, AMD, and a distant third VIA. If ARM is acceptable, suddenly Qualcomm, Samsung, Broadcom, TI, nVidia, Freescale, and literally dozens more become options, mixing and matching with a few fabrication companies. By and large, business concerns over not being held over a barrel by your supplier has made the concept of avoiding the x86 space very appealing.

Intel should probably consider a smartphone-targeted ARM processor, to break into that specific market that now has gobs of pre-compiled applications for ARM. However, I think the strategy for tablets and larger would be more aggressive licensing of x86 to more providers. x86 still carries a lot of weight in backward compatibility, and the non-iPad tablet market isn't exactly particularly cemented quite yet.

Re:Random idea (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057141)

That's actually a very interesting idea. Qualcomm made a lot of money from a designing their own ARM core, the Snapdragon, from the micro-architecture upwards instead of buying a hard macro from ARM like all the other SOC vendors. The end result was that Scorpion had clock speed advantage over contemporary hard macros.

Look at the number of phones that used it here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snapdragon_(system_on_chip) [wikipedia.org]

Clearly there's market for tuned up ARM cores. Intel as you say has an ARM license and the people to do this sort of project. They've got the cash too - I've heard that Qualcomm spent $50 million on developing the custom microarchitecture for Snapdragon but if you look at the number of design wins they got it was worth it. If Intel cancelled Itanium and moved the design team to an a custom ARM architecture project it seems like it would be cheaper. Assuming they've got enough people working on x64 of course - that clearly must be their priority. Then again, they only need to spend more than AMD to stay in the game - maybe they could rest on their laurels for a bit on x64 and deploy resources on ARM.

I don't really see ARM as being a competitor to x64 on netbooks because of software compatibility. But on phones it is pretty much the opposite - people are going to pick the best ARM core rather than switch over to x64 because ARM is a much better fit. Also I can see ARM being used in datacenters. In fact a lot of the problem with ARM is that there aren't many ARM SOCs with a fast memory controller because they are all tuned for low power. So ARM scores poorly compared to even an Atom at memory intensive benchmarks. Someone is going to do a desktop or server class ARM in the end anyway, why shouldn't it be Intel?

Re:Random idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057155)

IIRC, Intel sold their ARM architecture license to Marvell.

Re:Random idea (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057221)

They sold their Xscale ARM chip designs, yes, but they still hold an ARM license from my research*.

* "My research" = "reading Wikipedia"

Why would they want to do that? (3, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057179)

x86 is a big advantage for Intel. Not a lot of people have a license to use it, and the ones that do either don't do a very good job (AMD) or haven't done anything yet (nVidia). It also gives them binary compatibility with so much out there. It is big to be able to run a bunch of programs with no recompiling (and even with recompiling an architecture switch can be a pain).

Were Intel to do an ARM chip like that, it would be an internal hedge, you wouldn't see it unless there was a reason. There would be no reason to sell thing thing and give the ARM market credibility against the x86 market. They'd only introduce it were it clear ARM was the way they needed to go.

There's heavy inertia on x86 as well and it may never change. Really modern compilers and microarchitectures have rendered a lot of the old school RISC vs CISC and arguments like that moot. Turns out you can use pretty much whatever ISA you like and make the chip work well, and CISC isn't a big deal for modern compilers.

If you see Intel do ARM chips, I think it will just be for mobile phones and tablets. If their attempt to muscle in to that market with x86 chips is unsuccessful, they may elect to play the ARM game, which they'd have an advantage on most other fab since they are generally a node ahead in process technology.

I can only see a desktop ARM chip getting released if ARM starts to become the One True Way(tm) and I don't think that is all that likley.

Re:Why would they want to do that? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057263)

They may not release it (they have a ton of unreleased products), and they may not even announce it (to avoid giving ARM any publicity), but honestly, I wouldn't actually be that surprised if they were already doing something like this, and just keeping it secret.

Then again, Windows 8 brings up some interesting opportunities. It seems like, if Windows 8 on ARM takes off, there will be demand for desktop-grade ARM chips. Definitely not a guarantee (personally, my money's on W8A dying horribly), but a possibility. Right now, it seems there essentially is no option for desktop ARM (closest thing is Raspberry Pi). Maybe there's a market there. Maybe not. Only real way to tell is to try releasing a product.

Re:Why would they want to do that? (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057319)

I don't think there is. Why would there be? So I can offer you a chip that performs the same (so far I've seen no evidence that an ARM chip will perform better, and their lack of chips that compete indicates that is right), cost the same since wafers size costs money, but doesn't run your shit. Why would I want that again?

Like I said, the x86 entrenchment is heavy. If you get an x64 chip, you can run all your software on it. Hell they go so far as to still boot in 16-bit real mode so you can, no shit, run DOS on bare metal these days if you really wanted to. You can just get all kinds of desktop and server stuff for x86, pretty much anything there is.

So to have any hope of succeeding at all an ARM system would have to offer something Intel (and AMD) can't. It would have to be faster, cheaper, or really probably both to be worth buying.

I think the problem is people have this false perception of ARM being some amazing technology that x86 just can't touch. They see these tiny chips and say "Man ARM is so much more advanced than Intel!" No, not really. Those tiny chips tradeoff quite a few things to be what they are. If ARM were to bolt on all the bits necessary to compete in the desktop space (64-bit, more address lanes, more execution units, bigass FPU/vector unit, higher clock, etc) I think you'd find it would be as big as x86 chips and use as much power.

Also Windows 8 will make it fairly easy enough to port tablet/smartphone Windows 8 apps to the x86 desktop, should anyone desire (why they would I have no idea).

Re:Why would they want to do that? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057445)

Software compatibility cuts both ways.

I suspect that much of the reason people are "flocking" to smartphones and tablets isn't just because of the hardware, but because of the software. Desktop environments essentially "peaked" somewhere between 98 and XP. Everything since has either been copying those, copying those but with more shiny, or coming up with really retarded "innovations".

Mobile devices, like it or not, are doing things differently. And people seem to be liking it. I suspect that, instead of Windows and x86 moving down-market, Android/iOS and ARM may move up.

Yes, Android has an x86 port and apps are theoretically cross-platform, but the port is relatively untested and quite a few apps use native code that will not run on x86. It's entirely possible that, after a generation of teenagers grows up primarily using Android/iOS/W8 phones for their computing, that when they finally grow up and get a boring office job, they'd only be really productive using some sort of scaled-up Android/iOS/W8 desktop.

Is it a long shot? Yes. I'm not saying Intel needs to drop everything and start making 32-core i7-competitor ARM chips. That's stupid. I'm saying Intel might want to "insure" themselves against that possibility by spending $50M or so to develop (and potentially NOT release) a desktop-type ARM processor.

Re:Why would they want to do that? (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057713)

Oh there will be plenty of smartphone market. Already is and it is still moving up. However that doesn't mean it competes well with the desktop market. Smartphones are toys, basically. You use them to check e-mail, maybe do a little web surfing, and play simple games. Oh and GPS. Fair enough, love mine for all that. However that isn't what I use a desktop for.

I would never dream of trying to type this post out on a smartphone. If I want to create content, a desktop is what I'm after. This is to never mind more complex things like pictures, video, or music. Also when it comes to real gaming, I want a desktop (or laptop, or console). I want a big screen and I want graphics horsepower. Doodle jump is amusing when I'm in the doctor's office waiting 10 minutes but it has nothing on Shogun 2: Total War for entertainment value.

The app market on a smartphone isn't shit I want on my desktop. The only apps I have on my smartphone I'd want on my desktop are apps that my desktop already has better. Like Wyse Pocketcloud. It lets me RPD to a computer in an emergency from my phone. However I'd much rather just use Microsoft Remote Desktop on my PC if I can.

I just don't see smartphones and tablets muscling in on PC turn. I see them as being their own turn, and people owning them too. I don't know anyone who owns just a tablet. I know plenty of people who own a laptop and a tablet.

To establish customer relationships. (1)

emil (695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057867)

The 22nm technology is very good, and Intel can use it to "bless" specific ARM market segments and thereby control them.

Intel could feasibly make the fastest and most power-efficient ARM processors with a 22nm foundry, and could craft customer contracts in such a way as to prevent those CPUs from entering devices that compete with the x86 products.

If and when Intel develops an architecture that is competitive to ARM, it would then have established supply relationships into the targeted market segments.

And from an engineering standpoint, ARM could use extra wasted die space on x86 wafers.

Furthermore, in the Android world, who particularly cares about the cpu? Seen any "ARM Inside" logos lately? Intel felt the opposite side of this when they lost xbox to power.

I can't argue with Intel's success, but they make a lot of decisions that don't make financial sense to me.

Re:Random idea (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057183)

You do that, Intel, and you basically can't lose (barring sudden inexplicable incompetence). If the ARM desktop project completely fails, well, you just proved that x86 chips are unbeatable on the desktop market (which will never completely disappear). If the project succeeds, you'll win no matter which architecture comes out on top, and you'll have the advantage of having an experienced ARM team to help you take the best features of ARM and put them in your mobile x86 chips.

Good companies are always ready to adapt fast. Bad companies who can't adapt always fail when their niche disappears. I agree with you completely; if Intel is smart, they'll be ready to abandon x86 if the time is ever right, and be ready to be a leading designer and manufacturer of ARM chips, retaining their crown as the biggest and most trusted chip company in the world. If they're stupid, they'll cling on to their (very profitable) x86 until their dying breath, wasting every last penny in the death struggle (and probably riding out its autumn years as a patent troll). And if that day never comes, and x86 rules supreme forever- well what have they wasted? A few million dollars a year for the contingency? Pocket money to them.

You can see the same thing play out with all sorts of companies. Kodak didn't adapt, and nor did any of the bricks-and-mortar retailers who have had their lunch eaten by online retailers, or worse- digital product companies (a market they could have happily had themselves, if only they'd seen it coming). While on the flipside you have the indestructible IBM, who change their business model as often as a sailor changes the orientation of a ship's sails...

Re:Random idea (4, Interesting)

steveha (103154) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057593)

You want Intel to make an ARM chip that is competitive with x86. Intel will never, ever do that if they can possibly avoid it.

Intel dominates in x86, and they make good profits on x86 chips. As noted in TFA, Intel would be just another ARM source out of many, and they would make less on an ARM than on x86. nVidia, on the other hand, is no longer friendly with Intel and has no reason not to build a super ARM as you would like; and in fact they seem to be working on it. Google search for "Project Denver".

The first Project Denver silicon is rumored to be 8 ARM cores, 64-bit, with a 256 CUDA core GPU on the same die. I would love a smartbook with that chip, but I think they will be able to sell that as a blade server platform as well.

steveha

ARM started as a FAST desktop processor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40056929)

With Intel being the No. 1 supplier of notebook PC processors, and ARM technology almost ubiquitously powering smartphones

Memories of 1987, my 4/8MHz ARM powered Archimedes [wikipedia.org] was running circles around the Intel 80x86 CPUs - heck we even emulated (PDF [chriswhy.co.uk] ) Intel to run WordPerfect and a Modula2 compiler.

Chinese cunny (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40056937)

I heard Chinese sluts' pussys are sideways. So Zuckerburg is fucking a bitch with a vertical fuck hole. How sick is that?

Re:Chinese cunny (0)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057251)

If you're going to troll like this, you could at least learn the difference between vertical and horizontal. And really, what difference would it make? I don't really see the downside for horizontal.

TFA shows AMD for some reason... (1)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 2 years ago | (#40056939)

Even though AMD is not mentioned in TFA there is still a picture of an AMD guy with a wafer (even though ARM doesn't even contract out chip manufacture much less have its own fabs). Silly journalists, TLAs are for engineers.

Microsoft isn't going to help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40056953)

If they let Microsoft call the shots on the ARM PCs, I'm not so sure.

Re:Microsoft isn't going to help (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057249)

On the other hand, you have Intel forcing "Vista Capable" on Microsoft.

Intel has itself to blame (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057009)

They should be making the SoCs on their most advanced process. Not one a generation behind

Intel is making the same mistakes that sun and it's old competition made. Their cpu's are too good and too expensive

Re:Intel has itself to blame (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057401)

Intel is certainly planning to get Atom to 22 nm soon. And the roadmaps point at a 14nm Atom in 2014, that is, at the same time as the architecture tick following Haswell. This means that Atom will see three process transitions in as many years to get up to speed. I guess the Medfield design was too far gone and that the 22nm capacity was already booked in to simply switch over.

can we (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057051)

can we stop with this ubiquitous word please?

Already happened here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40057463)

If I look around and count the NASes, routers, phones and tablets and media player, then I have more devices using ARM CPUs than Intel CPUs. I also find that I'm using the phone and tablet more and the laptop and desktop less, but that is another story.

Wouldn't bet against Intel (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057485)

I wouldn't bet against Intel. In fact, I bought a bunch at $19 and have profited han$somely. Low power ARMs are now a fixed target for Intel. You can't say the same about ARM moving into the high end. We all benefit from the competition. I am absolutely amazed at progress in hardware over the last 5 years.

Sounds like a buyout is in the works... (1, Interesting)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057635)

Usually, when ceo's talk like this about their competitors, it's because there have been buyout talks. Offers, counter offers, maybe ARM is shopping around. There was talk a few years ago that Apple would buy ARM. We know that Intel is interested, how could they not be? My best guess is that there have been talks, maybe they've recently broken down, or ARM is trying to get Intel to the table to initiate talks. Either way, expect ARM to be acquired by someone over the next year. You heard it here first.

Once again, who cares about this? (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | more than 2 years ago | (#40057883)

I always like the random tech cheer for stuff like arm and linux. C'mon guys, you need a business driver and there isnt one. You don't just take technology and look for a problem for it to solve, you identify the most important problems to solve and then implement technology to solve that problem.

ARM built up to do what a desktop cpu does will look just like the cpu it intends to replace. It won't have significant power or energy advantages. It'll require a ton of software work and rework.

This is MIPS and PowerPC all over again. Nobody needs it. But we'll certainly spend a billion on it before realizing that it doesn't do anything for anyone.

Good luck to the ARM ceo. Bravado doesn't make the payroll.

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