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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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By MrTeal on 1/21/2011 9:50:19 AM , Rating: 2
I'm at a loss as to why you'd want a full version of Windows on a tablet. Yes you gain application compatibility, but every Windows app for the last 20 years has been written with a keyboard and mouse in mind. For all the attention Apple gives in their commercials to doing work on an iPad, no one's going to be using a tablet to make up spreadsheets, regardless of it you have a full version of windows. Maybe fix a typo or move a graph from here to there, but not do real work.

MS would be much better off working with WinMo 7 and making it superior to iOS than trying to port the x86/x64 version of Windows proper to Arm to use for tablets.

RE: Why?
By bhieb on 1/21/2011 10:01:38 AM , Rating: 2
I'm at a loss as to why you'd want a full version of Windows on a tablet.
To correct you, you're at a loss as to why anyone would want current/past full versions of windows (to that I'd agree), no one really knows what Win8 is going to be. Even Balmer says it is a big gamble. I'd expect it to be radically different. It may in fact be very touch capable (for once).

RE: Why?
By bug77 on 1/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: Why?
By Smilin on 1/21/2011 12:34:42 PM , Rating: 5
I've no interest in any tablet except one that runs a full OS.

I have no interest at all in "apps". I want applications that are fully powered, network and cloud integrated, and make me compromise on nothing.

Some feeble filesystem that is barely accessible and doesn't integrate with anything (SMB, NFS, CIFS etc) is useless. Having a device that cannot communicate with anything but other proprietary devices is useless to me. I want to be able to plug a Harmony Remote in to program it OR use the device itself.

I want to be able to run Media Center. Do not only terminal services but run a Hyper-V manager.

We take for granted all the stuff a truly powerful OS does. How about folder synchronization on your network. Why would I want to pay 99 cents for an "app" do do that in some half-arsed way when it's built into any OS worth a crap.

So that (and a bajillion!) other reasons is why I want a full version of Windows.

If I want insane battery life and some ultra portability ... I already have a mobile phone for that.

So give me Windows, Give me Linux, heck give me OSX on my tablet. Just don't give me iOS or Android (even honeycomb).

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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