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Intel claims that its next generation of mobile CPU products will be able to beat ARM in power efficiency. The company claims to be unconcerned that Microsoft will be allowing ARM chips on Windows netbooks, notebooks, and tablets.  (Source: Intel)
Who, us worried? Naww...

Microsoft’s announcement that the next version of Windows would support ARM chipmakers' CPUs was a bombshell and shocking news to x86 chipmaker Intel.  Many took the news as a sign that Microsoft felt Intel, the world leader in PC CPU shipments, was offering too little, too late in power improvements compared to the power-savvy ARM architecture.

In newly released comments, an Intel spokesperson denies that Microsoft took such a stand and insists that not only is Intel at no risk, but that it will actually be able to beat ARM at power efficiency.

Intel's spokesperson delivered these comments to the SF Gate. States the spokesperson, "With over 30 years of compatibility, we will easily scale down to a lower power Windows to match our Atom processor family, or any x86-based Intel chip."

The company's executive leadership made similar claims during its recent earnings call.

The spokesperson also pointed to a recent interview Intel executive vice president Dadi Perlmutter did with Ars Technica. The Intel executive claimed that it would take Microsoft so long to get the next version of Windows ready that by then his company would have released designs that could compete with ARM in power.

The spokesperson adds, "Windows will always run best on Intel.  Porting Windows to a new architecture, where chips are generally incompatible with each other and require sizable investment in millions of other software code, applications and middleware will be complex and costly."

Costly, perhaps, but many think it is necessary despite Intel's claims.  Intel has yet to release an x86-based tablet system-on-a-chip (CPU+GPU) that's anywhere close to the power efficiency of the ARM-based chips present in virtually every tablet on sale today.  And while Intel Atom-based tablets will be coming this year, it's not expected to get its smartphone CPUs to market this year.

While Intel's prospects in the tablet market look slim, the biggest danger to it is actually in the budget laptop/netbook sector.  ARM-based designs could offer much longer battery life than designs using Intel chips, such as Sandy Bridge or Atom.  The ARM architecture is inherently slightly more efficient as it eliminates register expensive renaming and has a slimmer instruction set.  While not all reduced instruction set computer CPUs -- RISC CPUs -- have been as successful (e.g. the PowerPC architecture), ARM represents the closest to perfect RISC architecture the market has seen to date.

Despite those architectural advantages, Intel could be right about future efficiency if it continues to aggressively pursue die shrinks.  As processor shrink, they become more energy efficient, but leakage current accounts for more and more of the power budget.  So if Intel can out-shrink ARM chipmakers or use better leakage controlling technologies in its chips, that could make more of a difference to net power consumption than the core architecture, in the long run.



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Of course they can
By bug77 on 1/21/2011 9:15:03 AM , Rating: 3
They can always offer discounts to those that don't use ARM, can't they?

I wonder what were they thinking claiming they can beat ARM in power efficiency, when all they have is x86? Is there something in the works that we don't know about?




RE: Of course they can
By stimudent on 1/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: Of course they can
By fteoath64 on 1/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: Of course they can
By bug77 on 1/21/2011 11:37:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"They can always offer discounts to those that don't use ARM, can't they?" Yes, they can but what will that do ?. Would you buy a tablet or phone that is bulky and will not work fast ?


Let me see... Would you buy a Pentium 4 that is bulky and will use twice the power to do the work an AthlonXP does?
Look up the lawsuit form AMD in case you don't know what I'm talking about.


RE: Of course they can
By silverblue on 1/21/2011 11:58:57 AM , Rating: 2
I believe that's what (s)he meant.


RE: Of course they can
By omnicronx on 1/21/2011 1:19:58 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
"They can always offer discounts to those that don't use ARM, can't they?" Yes, they can but what will that do ?.
Have you been under a rock? Have you missed the Intel antitrust suits?

No even going to answer you second paragraph as you are not making sense.
quote:
Besides Intel has no access to low-power GPU that is as fast as the ones demo-ed in CES2011 tablets.
Please stop commenting, not only does Intel 'have access', but the GMA 500 and GMA 600 integrated graphics that are currently used for the latest line of Atom chips
ARE the very same chips used in many phones and soon to be tablets. (in fact it uses a Power VR SGX 535 which is exactly the same as the iPhone 3GS/4G and the iPad.


RE: Of course they can
By erple2 on 1/21/2011 6:28:52 PM , Rating: 2
WHOOSH!


RE: Of course they can
By omnicronx on 1/21/2011 1:14:18 PM , Rating: 3
You wonder what they have? Perhaps a fab facility that is pretty much always a die shrink ahead of everyone else perhaps? Far more resources than any of the current arm manufacturers with the ability to push far more product?

Not much I know... ;)

There is nothing inherently wrong with x86 people, and as ARM pushes their hardware designs making them more complicated, Intel catches up. The simplicity of ARM design is only going to help them for so long.


RE: Of course they can
By bug77 on 1/21/2011 5:26:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is nothing inherently wrong with x86 people


There is: it's a CISC architecture. Which is fine when you're after speedy coding, but it compromises on chip complexity and therefore power requirements. Doesn't get more "inherently wrong" than that.


RE: Of course they can
By Ammohunt on 1/21/2011 2:20:02 PM , Rating: 3
I agree they totally missed the mark when x64 was released by AMD..didn't see that one coming. Currently there is no advantage to running x86 in a mobile device.


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