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Apple, ARM, and Intel

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the dysfunctional-courtship dept.

Businesses 246

Hugh Pickens writes "Jean-Louis Gassée says Apple and Samsung are engaged in a knives-out smartphone war. But when it comes to chips, the two companies must pretend to be civil because Samsung is the sole supplier of ARM-based processors for the iPhone. So why hasn't Intel jumped at the chance to become Apple's ARM source? 'The first explanation is architectural disdain,' writes Gassée. 'Intel sees "no future for ARM," it's a culture of x86 true believers. And they have a right to their conviction: With each iteration of its manufacturing technology, Intel has full control over how to improve its processors.' Next is pride. Intel would have to accept Apple's design and 'pour' it into silicon — it would become a lowlymerchant foundry.' Intel knows how to design and manufacture standard parts, but it has little experience manufacturing other people's custom designs or pricing them. But the most likely answer to the Why-Not-Intel question is money. Intel meticulously tunes the price points for its processors to generate the revenue that will fund development. Intel's published prices range from a 'low' $117 for a Core i3 processor to $999 for a top-of-the-line Core i7 device. Compare this to iSuppli's estimate for the cost of the A6 processor: $17.50. Even if more A6 chips could be produced per wafer — an unproven assumption — Intel's revenue per A6 wafer start would be much lower than with their x86 microprocessors. In Intel's perception of reality, this would destroy the business model. 'For all of Intel's semiconductor design and manufacturing feats, its processors suffer from a genetic handicap: They have to support the legacy x86 instruction set, and thus they're inherently more complicated than legacy-free ARM devices, they require more transistors, more silicon. Intel will argue, rightly, that they'll always be one technological step ahead of the competition, but is one step enough for x86 chips to beat ARM microprocessors?'"

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246 comments

Long term (1, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734433)

ARM will win the battle, as long as we dont see some sort of bloody patent war.

Its a better archetecture from the start.

Re:Long term (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734543)

Sure it is. That's why the best ARM CPU is hundreds of times slower than the best x86 CPU.

Re:Long term (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735217)

Long Term?

Apple should acquire AMD, and shift them to being primary supplier and ARMs dealer.

They will go for a song, while Apple had the highest market cap in history.

That's kind of stupid (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41735755)

Apple should acquire AMD, and shift them to being primary supplier and ARMs dealer.

That's rather dumb considering AMD doesn't actually manufacture chips any more.

If AMD did make chips, Apple could get nice GPUs and license ARM cores. But then if AMD hadn't dropped the ball on manufacturing they might still be a viable company.

Re:Long term (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734557)

Care to explain why it is better?

Re:Long term (5, Insightful)

Marillion (33728) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734697)

If you measure operations per second, the x86 chip will win. If you measure operations per second per watt, the ARM chip will win.

Re:Long term (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734815)

Until you factor in Haswel and underclock it and blow away ARM at ops/watt.

All right, let's compare more (2, Insightful)

Chemisor (97276) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734901)

If you measure miles per hour, the horse will win. If you measure miles per hour per calorie, the snail will win. Now, which one would you like to pull your next carriage?

Re:All right, let's compare more (5, Interesting)

Fishchip (1203964) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734991)

It depends. Is my carriage playing Modern Warfare 3 or Angry Birds?

Re:All right, let's compare more (2)

bennomatic (691188) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735189)

How many snails am I allowed to rig up? And can I put them on a geared set-up which will allow them to achieve horse-like speeds?

Re:All right, let's compare more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41735675)

As many as you'd like. By the time you got up to horse-like speeds, you'd be burning more energy per watt. The failure of the analogy is that the horse starts off with a more efficient movement method, whereas in the case of ARM vs Intel, ARM has the theoretically more efficient architecture. It should compare horse vs. spider, but if I had a carriage pulled by a bunch of spiders I'd be running a lot faster in the opposite direction, screaming as I go. Hey, the analogy holds up.

Re:All right, let's compare more (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735645)

If you measure miles per hour, the horse will win. If you measure miles per hour per calorie, the snail will win. Now, which one would you like to pull your next carriage?

A Nissan 370GT uses 11 L/100KM, a Nissan Micra uses 6.5 L/100KM. Both will do the same job but the Micra wont got 0-100 in 6 seconds. So it depends if I'm racing or saving fuel.

Re:Long term (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735199)

As a former EE i can attest that the design of ARM is far more elegant than the abomination of the x86 line. The only reason they are 'faster' is they throw more transistors ( electrical power ) to work around fundamental design flaws.

ARM could easily scaled up to surpass x86 performance if power was no longer a factor, but it is so you wont see that happening.

Backwards compatibility with existing 'enterprise' apps, well you do have me there.

Re:Long term (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41735579)

Nope. ARM's pipeline is too short and would have to be redesigned.

Re:Long term (4, Interesting)

rahvin112 (446269) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735045)

What a bold prediction, you understand of course that Intel has buried every single competing architecture from the past? Intel has a process advantage, even if they have to spend 10% of their die on decoding/rearranging they still have a significant transistor lead by remaining a process ahead AND still use lower power. Not only that but because x86 is nothing more than an abstraction layer at this point the internal architecture of their chips is free to move with the winds of computing in the best direction for the balance of power use, processing capacity and weight. They've had almost 2 decades to improve this abstraction layer to the point of perfection.

People like you forget how long it takes to design and build a microprocessor. From design to hard silicon is almost 5 years. So the designs Intel releases this year were planned out in 2007. Given the ARM didn't start to make an impact (on Markets Intel considers themselves part of) until 2006-7 we are JUST starting to see an Intel design philosophy that emphasizes power as a critical function. Haswell is probably the first chip that Intel hasn't tried to tack power efficiency on add-on at tape out. I fully expect Intel to demonstrate that x86 under their lead has the ability to compete directly with ARM on their best footing, power consumption.

So watch and learn young padawan. Intel has the best process engineers in the business and if things in the foundry business keep going like they are (TSMC and Global Foundaries have both been very very late moving forward on process while Intel hasn't missed a stride) they are going to be two steps ahead on process in the next year or two and that would be an advantage not even the best ARM design could beat even if Intel bungles their design. I fully expect that if Intel wants it they could take the whole ARM chip market. The only reason they haven't up till now is it would destroy their margins. So we will watch them balance their designs to retain the high margin products and forgo the cheap. This could ultimately be their undoing but once power efficiency becomes a priority of their designs which begin with Haswell, Intel will be in a position to take the ARM chip market any time they want.

Don't ever discount the power of the foundry.

Re:Long term (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735419)

I disagree.

In general as CPU cores and their associated cache structure get bigger and more powerful the proportion of transitors devoted to instruction decoding goes down. So the complexity of decoding becomes less important and the density of the code becomes more important (because if means you can fit more code in cache). Afaict x86 does pretty well at instruction density. 32-bit x86 is register starved but 64-bit x86 doubles the register count (making it the same as 32-bit arm).

Re:Long term (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41735421)

ARM will win the battle, as long as we dont see some sort of bloody patent war.

Its a better archetecture from the start.

So was the 68000 and the PowerPC chip.

Complicated Story (1, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734465)

I can't find the angle here.

"Legacy Free" vs "Costs".

"Legacy Free" is a nice sounding term for "won't run $hit". So much for your 1,000 app and app-lets you rely on, Business.

So I give up on this story and will let the rest of y'all thrash it out.

Re:Complicated Story (3, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734613)

Won't run shit is interesting. With Windows forking into an ARM and x86 (or AMD64/IA64 whatever want to call it) versions, the writing may be on the wall for Intel. If one of the ARM guys can produce chips that will do the 150-200 dollar price bracket as well as Intel chips can on windows this becomes a whole other ball game.

I'm not sure where anywhere near there yet. But with Qualcomm feasting on the remains of AMD, Samsung producing millions of parts a year and a few others with them it's entirely possible that within the next 10 years ARM will be a major competitor to x86. Which is why MS is forking - it's going to confuse the hell out of consumers and is, from an end user perspective a terrible idea to go out and buy a Windows RT anything on friday (windows 8 launch day) but MS plans to support their ugly bastard for a long time, so who knows. And in 3 or 4 years when we see Windows 9 roll around we may have enough software that has been compiled and for and runs on both that your 'won't run shit' assertion would no longer apply.

Re:Complicated Story (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734671)

Microsoft is doing half-assed ARM support. They could have added fat binaries to Windows 8 but they didn't. They could have announced ARM ports of MS Office. Didn't hear anything about it.

Re:Complicated Story (2)

WolfgangPG (827468) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734759)

Seriously? Windows RT (Windows 8 on ARM) comes with Office 2013 -- Excel, PowerPoint and Word. You apparently didn't hear about it because you haven't been paying attention -- but Office for Windows RT is rather old news.

Re:Complicated Story (3, Interesting)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734857)

Hmmm... According to this article [theregister.co.uk] it doesn't come with macros or VBA so businesses can't run their crapola apps on it. That mostly defeats the purpose. Still it's less bad than I expected.

Re:Complicated Story (1)

WolfgangPG (827468) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735067)

Correct. Windows RT is targeted at consumers. if you want business LoB apps, Business Macros, etc... get a Windows 8 Tablet.

Re:Complicated Story (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735269)

Windows Tablet PRO-- key word

Windows Tablet is gonna be both ARM and X86/X64. Which is gonna cause more confusion when son says "Buy Windows Tablet Pro" and Dad buys "Windows Tablet" (not pro) and it won't do what he wants.

Re:Complicated Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41735169)

I realize it's mere anecdote, but I haven't seen anyone use macros or VBA in Office for the better part of 10 years. I think the, "this is a bad idea in every way" mantra finally sunk in.

Re:Complicated Story (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734967)

Oh, I see. So I can run my Win 8 Pro apps on my Win 8 RT tablet? No. Can I run my Win 8 Phone apps on my Win 8 RT tablet? No. In RT, Microsoft has created an environment completely distinct from both their desktop and phone platforms.

Ya lost me, Microsoft. Why would I want three separate platforms between my desktop, mobile, and semi-mobile devices? This doesn't make sense. With either Android or iOS, I can have the same apps on my phone and my tablet. With "real" Windows 8, I can have the same apps on my desktop and tablet. I can see solid cases for either of those scenarios. What I can't see is an advantage to isolating the tablet from both platforms.

What does RT provide me as a consumer? As far as I can tell, it just adds complexity.

Re:Complicated Story (1)

WolfgangPG (827468) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735085)

As a consumer it provides you with a secure and easier to maintain Windows. You just get your apps from the app store, it comes pre-loaded with office and you shouldn't have to worry about the x86/x64 legacy issues.

Of course that might not be what you want, but that is what it offers the consumer. You get a truly productive tablet, that is cheaper than Windows 8, ligther, and more secure (since it is more locked down, hopefully hacks would occur less and malware shouldn't be as frequent in the Windows App Store). However it is more restricted and doesn't run legacy applications.

Re:Complicated Story (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735103)

What does RT provide me as a consumer? As far as I can tell, it just adds complexity.

Well, iOS doesn't run legacy software and yet people seem to enjoy running it. So on day one RT will be dumb. But let's say 3 years from now when there may exist non crappy apps, you'll be able to run the same non crappy RT apps on a desktop as well as a portable device.

Re:Complicated Story (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735347)

That wooshing sound is my point going over your head. Nothing I said had anything to do with the number of apps available.

iOS = Phone and tablet.
Android = Phone and tablet.

Full Windows 8 = Desktop and tablet.

Windows 8 RT = Tablet only.

With three of those platforms, you get two devices sharing a common base of applications. With one of those platforms, there is no crossover. Windows 8 RT does not share an application base with the phone. It does not share an application base with the desktop. It compliments nothing. It doesn't give you a bigger phone. It doesn't give you a smaller desktop. You have an app for your phone, a different app for your desktop, and yet another app for your tablet. Windows Phone and Windows RT are orphans. Do you see what I'm saying now?

If RT could run Phone apps, I wouldn't be typing right now. It would be a bold and smart move by Microsoft. They'd be the only company offering consumers a choice between pairing the tablet with the phone or with the desktop. But that's not what they've done.

Re:Complicated Story (2)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735293)

Microsoft's branding around Windows sucks abysmally, but that's no excuse for just getting it wrong. The correct information is easy to find. Please stop muddying the waters with brand names that outright do not exist.

There is no such thing as Windows 8 RT. Windows RT and Windows 8 are very nearly identical, but Windows RT is expressly *not* marketed as Windows 8.

There's no such thing as Windows 8 Phone. Just like there was no such thing as Windows 7 Phone. Windows Phone is the name of the OS family. Windows Phone 8 is the new version. As with Windows 8 and Windows RT, it runs on the NT kernel, but that doesn't make it the same product any more than RHEL, Android, and Chrome OS are the same product (even though they all run Linux kernels).

Windows RT is intended for those who want an iPad-class device that also supports multiple users, filesystem access, sideloading, Windows networking, USB peripherals, scripting (powershell, CMD, WSH), Office, and Xbox integration, plus regular updates from the OS developer but many different hardware options to choose from. They want the low cost and low power usage of ARM, in a device that is cheaper, lighter, and gets battery life than an ultrabook at the cost of computing power and backward complexity.

It's not intended to replace people's PCs, or their smartphones, or their consoles. At least, not any more than the iPad or Nexus 7 are intended to replace such things. It's a decent alternative to a Kindle Fire (there's already an official Kindle app, and unlike the Fire you don't have to do any jailbreaking to control how the FS is allocated). It supports game controllers but is more multi-purpose than a console (and has less mastery of gaming). It's much more accurate to say that Windows 8 can run WinRT apps than it is to say that Windows RT runs Win8 apps.

Re:Complicated Story (2)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734763)

With Windows forking into an ARM and x86 (or AMD64/IA64 whatever want to call it) versions

Windows dropped IA64 support, like it did PPC, Alpha and MIPS before.

Re:Complicated Story (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735359)

Right, I confused the Itanium instruction set with whatever intel brands its 64 bit ISA.

Re:Complicated Story (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735669)

Right, I confused the Itanium instruction set with whatever intel brands its 64 bit ISA.

Just remember, ia64 == iTanic == shit sandwich, amd64 is where it's at. Which is why it's so heartbreaking to see AMD so far to the rear in terms of performance today.

Re:Complicated Story (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734843)

With Windows forking into an ARM and x86 (or AMD64/IA64 whatever want to call it)

AMD64 and IA64 are not even remotely the same. Itanium is vastly different than x86 and AMD64 hence why it failed to catch on.

Re:Complicated Story (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735363)

Right, I confused the Itanium instruction set with whatever intel brands its 64 bit ISA.

Duplicate comment because multiple people corrected the same thing in my post...

Re:Complicated Story (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735281)

If one of the ARM guys can produce chips that will do the 150-200 dollar price bracket as well as Intel chips can on windows

If the queen had nuts she'd be king.

Re:Complicated Story (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734741)

"Legacy Free" is a nice sounding term for "won't run $hit". So much for your 1,000 app and app-lets you rely on, Business.

I think that's less of a problem in the cell-phone market than in the desktop market.

In the cell-phone market, increasingly there is an App Store type service that automatically upgrades people's installed applications as necessary, so the onus is no longer on the user to do the work.

Re:Complicated Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41735069)

"Legacy Free" is a nice sounding term for "won't run $hit". So much for your 1,000 app and app-lets you rely on, Business.

I think that's less of a problem in the cell-phone market than in the desktop market.

In the cell-phone market, increasingly there is an App Store type service that automatically upgrades people's installed applications as necessary, so the onus is no longer on the user to do the work.

Yeah pretty soon it will be as good as the linux package managers i've been using since the early 1990s. Yay innovation!

Nice Markov Chain generator. (1, Offtopic)

lsommerer (89441) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734473)

Wow, that last article looks like a really good Makov Chain [wikipedia.org] generator (or whatever the kids these days are using).

The War Between Intel Core and ARM (5, Funny)

preaction (1526109) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734505)

The war between CORE and ARM raged across thousands of worlds, ravaging the galaxy. Neither would waver in their belief in their own supremacy. For each side, the only acceptable outcome is the complete elimination of the other.

Re:The War Between Intel Core and ARM (1)

e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734833)

Thanks dude, you made my day. I remember the first time I watched this intro... and the 10 following years spent playing the most awesome game ever.

(now you got me thinking, I had 16MB of RAM back then, now I have 16GB... time to see if building a 50,000 unit army would work!)

Re:The War Between Intel Core and ARM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734913)

There are patches to get you too 5000, but the app can't handle any more.

In the end (1)

SuperMooCow (2739821) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734851)

And after centuries of devastating battles, both went extinct. However, amidst the ashes, some of the little AVR cores survived and replaced both. ...

New for 3012, the ATmega81928 running at 30MHz! The speed will blow you away!

nobody else has fab left? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734517)

how about Texas Instruments?

Re:nobody else has fab left? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734621)

And Qualcomm, and Globalfoundries. And I think a few more beyond that too.

Re:nobody else has fab left? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734695)

Qualcomm is fabless, but I'm sure they'd love to replace the A6 with their own proc.

Re:nobody else has fab left? (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734801)

TI has no modern fabs; they decided to get out of the fab business a few years ago.

Re:nobody else has fab left? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734975)

On the "getting out of fab business", parent is incorrect. In fact TI had been buying up yard sales during the downturn.

http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4204587/TI-buys-two-fabs-from-Spansion-Japan That's from 2010
>The move is the most recent in a series of analog manufacturing expansions announced by TI over the past 24 months. In total, the fabs will add capacity for more than $3.5 billion of additional analog revenue per year when fully operational.

>By year’s end, TI plans to ramp the 200-mm fab in Japan, which is capable of boosting its analog sales by some $1 billion per year. The existing tool set in the fab can be tuned for TI’s analog process. That fab is slated to make TI’s precision analog products, based on its HPA07 process.

Given the lower complexity and small die sizes, TI seems to be making money doing analog part from their not so bleeding edge fabs.

"Genetic Handicap" (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734547)

"For all of Intel's semiconductor design and manufacturing feats, its processors suffer from a genetic handicap: They have to support the legacy x86 instruction set, and thus they're inherently more complicated than legacy-free ARM devices"

Oh shut up. This argument comes up every time there's an ARM vs Intel debate. And you know what? Intel is pushing hard and successfully into ARM's territory and ARM has yet to hit back with any chip that can compete with Intel in servers or high end laptops or etc. And that's WITH Intel's huge profit margins. ARM certainly doesn't have the profit margin's to spare in any price war. Intel is a huge monster to defeat, and its supposed handicap means far less worry for programmers, unlike trying to support the million and growing ARM SOCs out there and the nightmare that is.

Re:"Genetic Handicap" (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734747)

Are you really so ignorant as to not recognize that ARM isn't in the 'server or high end laptop' world?

They're cheap and low power. Perfect for small mobile devices.

However, I really don't understand why Intel won't play both sides of the fence. Why not build an AMD line/factory to offer both types of chips. Take away business from competitors. Get the past to pay for the future.

Re:"Genetic Handicap" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41735191)

probably because most people are penny pinchers and do not want to pay for their mobile phone additional $200 (intel low end price) or additional $1000 (intel high end price) until people start paying a lot more for mobile phones PC business brings much more money

x86 vs ARM, what about atom (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734549)

Intel's published prices range from a 'low' $117 for a Core i3 processor.

What about atom? You know, the processor produced by Intel, specifically for the same markets that ARM are dominating now.

Re:x86 vs ARM, what about atom (4, Informative)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734645)

But it wouldn't look as good in the article if they compared the $17.50 ARM's to the $19 Atoms (although the only $19 atom is the E620, which is pretty shit, event for an atom, the new N2760 is supposed to be a similar price to directly compete with ARM SoC's)

Well, sort of, but not really. (5, Informative)

Elbereth (58257) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734577)

Intel has made ARM processors in the past (xScale [wikipedia.org] ), and, apparently, still retains an ARM license. Intel has manufactured RISC chips, as well (i960, for example). There is absolutely no reason why Intel wouldn't/couldn't produce an ARM chip, if they wanted to. There's just no reason to do so.

Also, using the Core i3 as an example of Intel's "low-end" is not very fair. Intel's low-end chips are the Pentium and Celeron, not the i3. The Atom is the closest thing to a competitor to the ARM chips. Pricing for Atom chips varies extensively, from $20 to $100, depending on features,

Re:Well, sort of, but not really. (1)

amorsen (7485) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734797)

Intel has made ARM processors in the past (xScale [wikipedia.org]), and, apparently, still retains an ARM license.

They were crap though. I have an XScale-based PDA lying around somewhere. They were truly the Netbursts of the ARM world: high clock speed and power consumption but low performance.

Re:Well, sort of, but not really. (3, Interesting)

Amouth (879122) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734847)

Compared to the Samsung arm chips at the same time the xScale blew the doors off them in performance clock for clock, and at that time no one did well with power consumption except when asleep.

Re:Well, sort of, but not really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734907)

No-one did well with power consumption so it's ok that Intel were by far the worst

Did that contortion make your back hurt?

Re:Well, sort of, but not really. (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735023)

Intel has made ARM processors in the past (xScale [wikipedia.org]), and, apparently, still retains an ARM license.

They were crap though. I have an XScale-based PDA lying around somewhere. They were truly the Netbursts of the ARM world: high clock speed and power consumption but low performance

Intel sold the ARM license to Marvell who owns the architectural license to it. Intel does re-license back the Xscale core for some of their networking processors though.

As for Xscale being crap - back in the day, StrongARM and Xscale were the top of the line - the PXA255 being one of the fastest ARM chips around. The next-generation chip was supposed to be even faster, but Intel sold it to Marvell who doesn't seem to have done anything with it.

While StrongARM was pushing 200MHz, other ARMs were barely breaking 133MHz and not very fast at it. When the PXA255 upped it to 400, it was no competition. Then ARM decided they had enough of being outclassed by Intel and designed some decent ARM11 cores and continued onward with the Cortex series.

Intel retains the short term process advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734603)

For the time being, they have a big advantage in that they not only are producing working 22nm designs, but are using 3D gate transistors.

Most other fabs are going to stick with planar transistors until they move to a smaller process node. Intel has already proven that they can do finfets, whereas no other fab has had a serious production run of finfet parts. If they run into problems transistioning to finfets, Intel will likely end up another 6 months further ahead of them than they already were.

Ironic (5, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734647)

If Gassée is right about "architectural disdain" then it's kind of ironic. Intel itself exhibited the same disdain for x86 architecture when they initially refused to make their first 64-bit chip, the Itanium, backward compatible with it. It was only after AMD demonstrated that the architecture still had legs that they brought it to the 64-bit world — after wasting billions on Itanium development.

Those that forget history, yada yada.

Re:Ironic (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735105)

It's ironic that you posted that ironic comment, as it's ironic that Gassée would be right after being so spectacularly wrong about a similar topic.

"I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense - I deserve it."
-- Jean-Louis Gassée, CEO Be, Inc.

what am I missing? (3, Interesting)

ThorGod (456163) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734667)

Apple's the one currently manufacturing their A6 chips for $17, while the comparable Intel chip retails for much more?

Isn't this more a statement of how well Apple's vertical integration of chip manufacturing went?

Re:what am I missing? (1)

ebunga (95613) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734783)

Well for starters, speed, flexibility, speed, speed, flexibility and speed.

Intel not the only or even likely source (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734669)

Given that Qualcomm, Samsung, TI for now (Apple could buy TI's mobile chip business they are divesting themselves from), and pretty much anyone who wants to can be an ARM vendor, I don't see a lot of particular interest in going Intel for this sort of business.

I'll say also that it's disingenuous to compare i3 pricing to snapdragon part, intel also sells Atom processors which would be a bit more comparable.

They have to support the legacy x86 instruction set, and thus they're inherently more complicated than legacy-free ARM devices, they require more transistors, more silicon.

I've been told and am very willing to believe this has always been a somewhat dubious argument and what realities that feed into that belief diminish with every generation of processor.

Intel and MS are currently in the same codependent boat. They also have similar behavior, where both make moves ostensibly to compete with prominent Tablet and Phone components, but putting premium pricing on such efforts that make them non-starters because they only want the business if the revenue model is *exactly* what they have grown accustomed to.

DESTROY ALL LEGACY (2)

ebunga (95613) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734739)

Wow, ARM people are just like Java cultists... calling everything else legacy.

Dear redditors... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734745)

There are no cat pictures here
There are no rage comics here
There are no advice animals here
All of our memes have been beaten down and we don't care for new ones.
We don't have English majors writing fake stories to have slashdotters ask them anything, except for our submitters.
There is no slashdot gone wild, thankfully.

So what are you doing here?

This comment is brought to you by shitslashdotsays

Re:Dear redditors... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41735673)

We're here. Get used to it. Welcome to the Monday that Never Ended.

Inflammatory story... (5, Informative)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734751)

It's been pretty much proven that the "x86 legacy baggage" or however you want to put it does not seriously affect Intel's Atom for phones.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6330/the-iphone-5-review/10 [anandtech.com]

Razer i, which has an Atom processor, beats A6, the best performer in the ARM field, most of the time in non-GPU tasks (one area it is lacking is GPU power), while power consumption is average for a phone. Android adds additional overhead not present in iOS, too.

If anyone can work miracles and cram x86 into a phone, it's Intel. As ARM designs have to start dealing with greater complexity, Intel can apply their immense experience with x86 and improve performance without dramatically increasing power consumption.

With some more work, I can see Atom beating the hell out of any ARM design in the same power envelope. I'll give it one or two generations.

Re:Inflammatory story... (1)

thammoud (193905) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734989)

That's some serious ass whipping. No power numbers though. At 7B per a new FAB, just wondering who has the muscle to compete with Intel.

Re:Inflammatory story... (1)

rsborg (111459) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735487)

If anyone can work miracles and cram x86 into a phone, it's Intel.

Then why haven't they yet? It's not like they haven't been trying for years. Why did Apple (and Google) have to create the market that MS and Intel now feel they need to invade?

Intel is the challenger here, and ARM has proven itself several billion times over.

Re:Inflammatory story... (4, Interesting)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735609)

"Trying" is probably an overstatement in this case. Intel has a well-devised plan to get there, but it's a plan that involves them taking one step at a time. First they needed the Atom CPU design, then they needed to get it integrated into a true SoC, then they need to integrate their own GPU, etc.

Intel Atom roadmap [anandtech.com]

Silvermont is where Intel makes their architectural leap over ARMv7 (Cortex) with the new Atom architecture coupled with Intel's own, higher performance GPUs. Then in 2014 Intel does Airmont, where Atom gets promoted to first-class status in Intel's fabs, jumping to new process nodes at the same time as Core. If all goes to plan, at this point Intel will be roughly a node ahead of the competition with an architecture as good as or better than any planned ARMv7 designs. This is the tick-tock strategy in full swing, the same strategy that is currently bludgeoning AMD to death.

So Intel may be the challenger here, but never underestimate them. Their fabs are unrivaled and they can afford to hire some of the best architects on Earth. If Intel does their homework and doesn't screw up, they're a very dangerous foe. The only place Intel can't (or won't) go is into low-margin products, and as bad as competition from Intel would be, the ARM partners don't want to sacrifice their margins too much just to scare off Intel. It would be a Pyrrhic victory.

Genetic disadvantage? Hardly (5, Informative)

scheme (19778) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734769)

'For all of Intel's semiconductor design and manufacturing feats, its processors suffer from a genetic handicap: They have to support the legacy x86 instruction set, and thus they're inherently more complicated than legacy-free ARM devices, they require more transistors, more silicon.

Intel and AMD x86 processors moved on to using micro-ops and risc like operations internally years ago. The only disadvantage nowadays is a small translator that converts x86 machine code into micro-ops. Compared to the actual logic or cache on the cpu the number of transistors that the translation takes is minimal and not a big deal especially when you consider the size of cpus nowadays.

Re:Genetic disadvantage? Hardly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41735151)

Yeah. The only people parroting this CISC vs RISC legacy nonsense are people who haven't picked up an architecture book in the past decade.

RISC lost all the battles, but won the war!

Re:Genetic disadvantage? Hardly (1)

Chuckstar (799005) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735215)

EXACTLY. ARM's architecture may provide a slight advantage for low-power use compared to x86. But it's very, very slight. Certainly, Intel's advantage in process technology would outweigh ARM's advantage in architecture. The only real reason x86 hasn't competed with ARM so far in very-low-power is that no one has tried hard enough. There's finally enough demand for higher-end low-power chips that Intel is taking notice. I think Intel is also taking notice because they don't like seeing an ARM-based software ecosystem developing that could rival the x86-based software ecosystem. So it's as much a defensive play as a profit play.

article author doesn't know what they are talking (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734791)

ARM processors are significantly smaller than Core processors, so they take less space on each wafer. So there's no question that there will be far more processors per wafer.

In addition, since they are smaller, a flaw in the wafer will damage a smaller amount of the wafer than with a larger processor.

So the percentage of processors that are good from a given wafer will be larger as well.

Now, there's still the question of if they could make as much money from the larger number of ARM chips as they do for the smaller number of Core chips, but remember that he's also quoting the retail price of the Core chips vs the wholesale price of the ARM chips.

Why would Intel be an alternative to Samsung? (1)

mridley (571519) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734825)

I skimmed the source articles and I'm confused as to the premise of this discussion that it makes any sense to move from Samsung to Intel for ARM fabrication. Intel may have some foundry business but I would think if Apple were looking at an alternate foundry they would be considering options like TSMC or UMC, not Intel. Although doing some Googling to check my facts on this comment since I've been out of the semiconductor world for a long time does reveal that apparently Apple did consider TSMC [gigaom.com] . But that still leaves plenty of third party foundries.

Wrong Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41734837)

Why isn't Apple constructing their own chip fab?

They have phenomenal cash reserves & the claim has been made they designed their own chip. So they have the market, the cash & the know-how to design what they need. Why not leverage it?

Is chip fabrication really so far outside the core competency of Apple? Is the investment really that risky? Or is the service of chip fabrication that competitive that there's really no advantage to investing in a plant when the roadmap for Apple's chips requires flexibility that would be impinged upon by an allegiance to specific hardware?

My guess is that there's no security in the chip market for the short term, unless you are Intel... but with AMD laying off 15% of its workforce, who knows what's in the future for Apple chips.

Re:Wrong Question (2)

MarioMax (907837) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734977)

Why isn't Apple constructing their own chip fab?

That's actually a damn good question.

My only guess is because it still makes more economic sense for Apple to outsource chip manufacturing to a third party. Brand new fabs are about the opposite of cheap as it gets: on the order of $30,000-$50,000 per square foot of cleanroom for the factory alone, including the actual construction cost and tooling the factory, but not counting labor costs and engineering support needed to run the factory, and not counting annual upkeep (which probably approaches 10% of the build cost per year alone).

Re:Wrong Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41735345)

Because all of the really good engineers they would need to pull off such a move...

Saw what happened to woz and tend not to wanna play with apple.

I'm still betting on Intel (3, Insightful)

yayoubetcha (893774) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734861)

Most people think Intel pumps out chips. Where this is true, Intel's real business is mass producing cash. Their Fabs are, in all ways that matter, a currency printing factory.

Say what you want about x86 technology or bash Intel because their not 'cool', but what they do better than ANYBODY is mass produce chips that have pretty sweet financial margins.

Intel is also not afraid of making dramatic changes. They actually started the DRAM Business by creating the first commercial chip, the 1103. They made big bucks with this business, but in the mid-80's competition from Japan were "dumping" DRAM into the market causing their margins to evaporate.

Intel was faced with an enormous business problem. Andy Grove decided, against many voices on the board, to abandon the business that made them a success: DRAM. Instead they focused on another business: the x86 microprocessor market. This was a huge risk, and the outcome was not certain at all what would happen.

Many are criticizing Intel for not getting on-board the mobile band-wagon in a big way. I know Intel quite well. I think, what we are currently witnessing in the microprocessor market is Intel's version of Ali's "rope-a-dope".

One thing is true, and Intel knows it.... only the paranoid survives.

Intel should preparel x86 replacement (3, Interesting)

faragon (789704) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734903)

This article shows the obvious: Excluding caches, performance per transistor in Intel x86 CPUs is very low. As example, current best performance per clock in the Intel CPUs is the AVX (Core i5/i7 -Sandy and Ivy Bridge-), delivering up to 8 FLOP per cycle with AVX SIMD opcodes (2 SIMD ALUs) while in previous generations was just 4 FLOPS per cycle with SSE2/3/4 (just 1 SIMD ALU). Thats miserable (back in 2000, the Playstation 2 was already capable of FMAC opcodes with 8 FLOPs/clock per SIMD ALU!!!). As example, similar performance with 4 FLOP per cycle with one SIMD ALU, at one fraction of waffer area.

Here is a 50$ ARM general purpose multicore-CPU example for matching 999$ performance of fastests Intel Core i7 (e.g. i7-3770K 3.9GHz (peak), 4 CPU, 8 threads, 2 SIMD ALU/CPU = 8 SIMD ALUs = 64 FLOPs/clock -> 3.9*10^9Hz * 64 FLOP/s = 249.6 GFLOPS [intel.com] :
  • 4 x ARM OooE (e.g. Cortex A9-like) 2.0GHz with 2 SIMD FMAC-capable ALUs/CPU (ALU = 16 FLOPs/clock, i.e. 2 ALUs = 32 FLOPs/clock -> 4 * 2.0*10^9 * 2 * 16 = 256 GFLOPS
  • 4 * 32KB + 4*32KB (256KB) L1 full-speed code and data cache
  • 4 * 256KB (1MB) L2 half-speed cache
  • 2 MB L3 half-speed cache
  • 2 or 3 lane ring bus (cheaper interconnect).

For increasing integer and load/store performance, it could be achieved with pipeline and issue/execution modifications, using more functional units. The limit is to keep the OooE simple enough for avoiding wasting transistor in executing tons of instructions unnecesarily.

Intel must embrace ARM (1)

gymbrown (778195) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734915)

Long-Term Survival Depends On Intel Embracing ARM

There have multiple organizations that had the capability of competing in the next market place and chose to ignore it because there was more profit in the last market place. The organizations lost market share and shrank as the old market place shrunk and the new market place expanded.

The following examples come to mind:
The Swiss started electronic watches but mechanical watches were more profitable
Kodak started designing digital cameras but film made more money.
Remington made computers but their consumer division was their main business.

Someone will make the next generation of processer chips. Intel will make less money in the short term if they decide to join the club but will eventually shrink if they don’t.

Explain this one to me... (1)

Qubit (100461) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734933)

Intel has some of the best (the best?) fabs in the world, and has chips that use a smaller process than what other companies are pushing out, right? So why can't they make a small, power-efficient chip that can at least meet (if not beat) the offerings from ARM and the licenses?

To put it another way, Wikipedia tells me that ARM Holdings has 2,000 employees and a revenue of about 490 million pounds (in 2011). Intel has 100,000 employees and a 2011 revenue of 54 billion dollars (about 34 billion pounds). How hard is Intel really trying to get a foothold in this market?

Easy question: How many smartphones are shipping right now with an Intel chip in them? Or to make it easier for you, can you name a currently-shipping smartphone that *doesn't* run on an ARM chip, without googling it?

Another metric: Can you think of any form factor of computer (laptop, netbook, desktop, server, game console, smartphone, dumbphone, tv, settop box, etc...) in which x86 marketshare has increased in the last 5 years? (I think apple's ppc -> intel move was 2006, so no dice there :P )

Re:Explain this one to me... (1)

MarioMax (907837) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735047)

Intel has some of the best (the best?) fabs in the world, and has chips that use a smaller process than what other companies are pushing out, right? So why can't they make a small, power-efficient chip that can at least meet (if not beat) the offerings from ARM and the licenses?

From what I've read on AnandTech [anandtech.com] , low power Haswell chips might meet your criteria, which are due out the middle of next year. I'd be very surprised if Broadwell (the 14nm die shrink of 22nm Haswell) doesn't.

that old canard about x86 complexity (3, Insightful)

epine (68316) | about a year and a half ago | (#41734963)

The old 80386 based on the "complex" x86 instruction set had 275,000 transistors. Intel is now making chips with 2.6 billion transistors and somehow what they once implemented as one functional unit within a budget of 0.000275 billion transistors is holding them back?

Certainly they would rather do a few things differently had they been worried about 2013 back in 1978. Transistor count is the least of the matter. What buggers up x86 is the number of active transistors handling the instruction stream at each instruction cycle. There's no way to align variable-length instructions without active transistors (regardless of whether the transistors involved amount to a wart on a small toe of a juvenile mosquito).

The x86 story bugs the hell out of me. Considered how well it actually held up for 45 years (and counting) it's one of the ugly duckling success stories of all time (hint: it wasn't so ugly after all).

It was also a founding member of the Steve Jobs reality distortion field. I'm concerned his posthumous aura will continue to glow with the uplift of falsehood. He should be credited more for what he accomplished than the lies he polished to get there.

It wasn't just Steve, it was the entire RISC consortium manufacturing an Achilles heel out of whole cloth. Far closer to the truth of the matter is that x86 has a much higher design cost than an orthogonal clean-sheet alternative. The design cost was a small multiple. Intel's resources were a large multiple. It didn't go well for RISC. The much vaunted DEC Alpha had a metal connect layer for single-cycle carry-add propagation that forever segregated it from the mass-consumer price point. It was the instruction set. No, it was the instruction set aided by a titanium stent.

Also, the RISC design advantage does not extend to the memory cache and system bus design. These are a bear to design well for any instruction set. The RISC people moaned about the exceptional Pentium Pro performance level on server workloads (it was the first memory bus from Intel that didn't totally suck). Well, Intel broke into the server market with their crappy old x86 instruction set by grafting it onto a titanium alloy cache hierarchy and bus controller (with multiple dies grafted into the same chip package at enormous expense). Cache latency and branch prediction absolutely dwarf instruction set as the big thing to worry about since around this time. If Steve hadn't grabbed onto the inferiority of CISC around this time, it might have died a timely death.

In low power applications, ARM has a real advantage, enough to win a huge market share at race-to-the-bottom price points. How much does the cost of a CPU influence a handset? How much everything else? I've put $300 Intel CPUs in $2000 boxes. I've put $250 Intel CPUs in $1000 boxes. I've put $60 CPUs in $500 boxes. A $16 CPU in a phone that retails for $600 for just a few months, before landing in the discount bin? I'm sure Intel wants a huge slice of that.

One reason Intel has held their ground is that the Cortex-A15 (out-of-order superscalar multiprocessor) is starting to look a lot like the old Pentium Pro. Sure the instruction set is modern and clean (though it took ARM surprisingly long to come up with the mixed 16/32 bit instruction encoding format due to misguided ideological purity; how many active transistors does it take to determine whether the next 32 bit chunk from the instruction stream is one lump or two? More or less than the number of active transistors in the icache devoted to storing common instructions bloated to 32 bits just because?). But all the rest of the issues are pretty much the same: branch prediction stalls, cache snooping, and memory path latency.

From Intel's perspective, an ugly instruction set is good for business. (Then they went on a jag thinking that if ugly is good, atrocious is better, and the Itanium was hatched with a jackhammer from a mastodon egg.)

After another three die shrinks, when half the processor implements on-demand power management, and most of the other half provides task-specialized execution units, is the instruction set going to matter a hill of beans for anything other than legacy lock-in?

Re:that old canard about x86 complexity (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735331)

Far closer to the truth of the matter is that x86 has a much higher design cost than an orthogonal clean-sheet alternative.

True. Years ago I went to a talk where the head of the Pentium Pro design team showed a graph of the number of engineers working on the project. It peaked around 3,000. Nobody had ever had a CPU design team that big before.

The variable length instruction alignment problem of x86, although ugly, isn't a huge consumer of transistors. AMD dealt with it by expanding instructions to fixed length when loaded into cache. Intel dealt with it by sometimes starting ambiguous cases in parallel and discarding the bogus results later. The downside of fixed-length instructions, as in RISC machines, is code bloat - PowerPC code is about twice as big as x86 code, which impacts cache miss rate.

While one instruction per clock RISC CPUs (low-end MIPS and DEC Alpha parts, and the Atmel AVR series are examples) are simple, superscalar machines executing more than one instruction per clock are almost as complex as x86 CPUs. That's why RISC stopped being a win.

Harry Pyle was developing the instruction set [computerhistory.org] for the Datapoint 2200 in his dorm room at Case Tech in Cleveland in the late 1960s. Same building I was in; different floor. That led to the 8008 and the 8080 and the 80286 and the 80386 and ...

Re:that old canard about x86 complexity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41735581)

Also, the RISC design advantage does not extend to the memory cache and system bus design.

Sure it does. ARM has a weakly consistent memory model, while x86 in most cases has a strong one. ARM mostly supports memory access on natural alignments, while most x86 instructions can load or store to any alignment.

Sure the instruction set is modern and clean

I think the switch to 64-bit computing can be something of an equalizer here. On one hand, the AMD64 instruction set added sorely needed registers and separated away a little bit of the cruft, and on the other hand ARM is adding yet another instruction set to support 64-bit in ARMv8.
Some people seem convinced that 64-bit ARM processors will herald a new age of low-power ARM servers. There's some momentum building that way, but I'll hold off judgement until I see the real-world numbers.

It's all about code parallelism (2)

gozu (541069) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735041)

For a long time, single-core applications were the rule so the CPU Mhz race was on. Once that ended around 3Ghz, the pressure was on for programmers to make computer code better at dividing the load between multiple cores.

It turns out that ARM does well with lower frequencies, and delivers the best performance per watt ratio. Also, it turns out that once all your code is written for 2, 4 or 8+ cores, it doesn't matter much if your cpus are clocked at 1.3Ghz (A6/Snapdragon) instead of 2.6Ghz (i7 in macbook pro 2012).

And if you're doing mobile, where battery life is a big factor, you need the ppw ratio more than anything, so you go ARM.

On mobile, Intel is in a similar situation now that they were against AMD back in the AMD64 days. Their current models (atom) are inferior but competitive. They are dominating servers and desktops which gives them a secure base to experiment from and I expect their mobile offerings in the next 5 years to bridge the gap with ARM.

Will they win? I have no clue. They might crush ARM or become the premier ARM licensee with the best ARM chips. Either way, Intel is going to lead.

Apple doesn't want to be *more* dependent on Intel (5, Insightful)

steveha (103154) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735071)

Intel wants to be the only company that can meet your needs. That way, they can make you pay premium prices for their chips. This is perfectly understandable; that is what is best for Intel.

Apple wants to be vertically integrated. They want full control over everything they do. Partly this is so they can keep as much as possible of the money they collect; partly this is so that they can guarantee excellent quality and excellent availability. This is what is best for Apple, and it isn't bad for their customers either.

Intel does not want to become just another ARM source, competing on price with all the others. But Apple will never lock themselves in to depending on Intel for mobile chips, when ARM chips have been shown to be more than adequate. And Apple would not be investing in custom ARM chips if it was planning to adopt Intel mobile chips.

People keep pointing out that Intel's mobile x86 chips are competitive with ARM. That won't cut it. Intel's chips would have to be better, and so much better that the risk of depending on Intel is worth it.

That was the case for the PowerPC to x86 transition! Intel's chips were so much better than PowerPC for laptops that it was worth getting into an entangling relationship with Intel. AMD was not able to guarantee delivery of the massive quantities of chips Apple was planning to sell, and Intel was, so AMD wasn't really an option... but at least they served to keep Intel from trying to charge totally outrageous prices for their chips; there was always a credible threat of going to AMD.

Hmm. It's looking like AMD is going to crater in spectacular fashion soon. I wonder if Apple will make a serious attempt to buy what's left of the company. That would enable Apple to make its own x86 chips! Eh, probably not. AMD is behind Intel on process, so switching to AMD chips would mean taking a hit on performance, power use, or both.

The "SemiAccurate" web site thinks that Apple will transition to using ARM chips for laptops [semiaccurate.com] , not just for mobile devices, once ARM chips are good enough (which they will be soon). So, transitioning away from x86 and to, say, multi-core 64-bit ARM chips is another way Apple can untangle from Intel.

Apple may not be in a big hurry to actually complete the transition away from Intel chips; just a credible threat of switching to ARM chips might be enough to negotiate good prices on x86 chips. That would leave lower power consumption as the main reason to go to ARM, but a laptop's display is probably the worst power drain, especially with a Retina display.

steveha

Re:Apple doesn't want to be *more* dependent on In (3, Insightful)

steveha (103154) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735335)

Also note that Apple has people paying $2500 and up for the Mac Pro, and $1000 and up for laptops. But mobile devices are closer to $500, and the Android competition is hitting the $200 price point.

There just isn't as much room to pay top dollar prices for Intel parts in the mobile space.

So even if Intel mobile x86 parts are slightly faster than the ARM chips, will Intel be happy selling at prices competitive with ARM prices? History suggests "no". The cheapest Atom chips are around $20 but Intel makes those suck, just as much as Intel can get away with.

Intel is the master of segmenting markets. Different chips at different price points have different features enabled. Cheaper chips are as crippled as possible, to encourage you to buy a more expensive chip. For example, Intel doesn't support virtualization features on their less-expensive chips; and Intel mostly reserves support for ECC RAM to only the Xeon processors.

(In contrast, AMD puts full functionality in all their parts; they are #2 and they are trying harder [follisinc.com] to please the customer. That is how you can get an HP Proliant MicroServer with a 1.5 GHz dual-core AMD Turion processor for $320 at Newegg [newegg.com] , with full support for virtualization and ECC RAM. I cannot imagine a MicroServer with equal or better Intel parts hitting that price point.)

Intel will try to balance the functionality it allows into the mobile chips against the price it can get. Apple just wants the best chips for the cheapest price. These two goals are not in alignment.

How many petaflops does your tablet do? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735087)

Mine flops and flips so much it burns out the battery in one minute.

Petaflop score: 1 Trillion

usefulness score: Zero.

Look, we buy these things to do stuff for us. A dead phone or tablet is pretty useless, no matter what it scores.

Tis a fool.... (1, Interesting)

Darth_brooks (180756) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735271)

Tis a fool who looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart. Or from Cupertino. And that's not a dig, Apple fans, that's just the truth. Apple will dump Intel when they feel like it, for reasons that they alone decide.

Apple is a bit like the interrogator in 1984. They believe that can levitate off the ground and float around the room should they choose to, and what the outside world thinks makes no difference at all.

Re:Tis a fool.... (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year and a half ago | (#41735695)

Tis a fool who looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart. Or from Cupertino. And that's not a dig, Apple fans, that's just the truth. Apple will dump Intel when they feel like it, for reasons that they alone decide.

Apple is a bit like the interrogator in 1984. They believe that can levitate off the ground and float around the room should they choose to, and what the outside world thinks makes no difference at all.

This.

It's Intel looking at the big picture. Samsung was one of Apple's biggest suppliers, look at what Apple tried to do to them (although it did backfire horribly for Apple, you cant count on that happening every time). Apple is turning out to be a riskier partner than Microsoft was.

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