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ARM CEO Warren East.  (Source: ARM)
ARM's Race: Deal with Microsoft to power next-gen PCs will continue to propel chip designer.

After beating year-end profit forecasts, thanks in part to iPhone and iPad sales, shares of ARM Holdings hit a 10-year high yesterday, The Telegraph reports.

ARM, chip designer for most of the world's mobile devices, has been at the center of take-over speculation. This speculation helped the company's shares close at 547 1/2p, the highest since the dotcom bubble 10 years ago, according to The Telegraph.

"It's hard to see what could have been better in this set of results. We've had a record in terms of earnings, and a record backlog up 75 percent [compared with last year]," ARM CEO Warren East told The Telegraph. "We are exposed to areas of strong structural growth. Just about everything is being connected to the internet, all of these are opportunities for ARM technology." 

ARM reported a 73-percent increase in pre-tax profits to £167.4 million in 2010. Year-end revenue was up 33 percent, to £406.6 million.

The company is poised for continued success. At CES last month, ARM announced a partnership with Microsoft to power the next generation of Windows PCs -- traditionally Intel territory. Many took the partnership as a sign that Microsoft felt Intel couldn't compete against ARM's power-savvy architecture. Intel countered, claiming that because it would take Microsoft so long to ready its next OS, Intel would have designs ready by then that could take on ARM.  

"Windows will always run best on Intel," an Intel spokesman was quoted saying. "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."

As East admitted, ARM would not begin to profit from the Microsoft deal for at least four years, because the new products have to be designed and built. "Clearly the Microsoft announcement is a massive deal," East told The Telegraph. "It's all a question of when [ARM will begin to power desktop computers]. I don't expect a massive share in PCs in the short term but I certainly do from tablets."

While some analysts predict that ARM could one day power half of the world's PCs, the company's true threat to Intel -- especially in the present tense -- remains modest.

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By dgingeri on 2/2/2011 12:35:13 PM , Rating: 2
Windows 7 media pc using an ARM processor. 25-30W for full internet video functionality instead of 100W+. All it needs is an HTML5 and/or Flash browser. Couple it with BR playback and it could replace your BR player completely. No need for much local storage.

It won't need Office and other software to become successful. It's not going to be a full function PC, just enough to do some basic features with minimal power requirements.

Another idea would be just using it for routing and/or a domain controller, with less than half the power requirement of an Intel based system. Intel based systems would still be used for virtual machine hosts, SQL, and Exchange machines, but it would free up power, cooling, and space in datacenters to use an ARM based machine rather than an Intel based machine.

RE: imagine
By nafhan on 2/2/2011 1:12:40 PM , Rating: 5
Uhm... Fusion?

Power usage charts from Fusion show load power for the whole system at less than 35 watts:

RE: imagine
By Da W on 2/2/2011 1:40:00 PM , Rating: 2

ARMS trades at 92 times profits.
Nvidia at 73 times
AMD at 13 times
Microsoft at 11,5
and Intel is at 10,5...

If Microsoft running on arm is such a big deal for ARM and Nvidia, why everybody is forecasting microsoft doom???

Intel is at least 1 or 2 generation ahead of eveybody else in term of process node. Followed closest by AMD (global foundry) which is a year late. I don't really care about efficient ARM architecture if Intel/AMD can reduce their x86 footprint enough to be irrelevant.

RE: imagine
By Taft12 on 2/2/2011 2:16:09 PM , Rating: 1
Why are you guys talking about Windows and x86? ARMs future is now in devices that have no business running Windows (tablets and smartphones)

The market for low-end x86 CPUs for HTPCs or home servers is already very well served by both AMD and Intel.

RE: imagine
By Da W on 2/2/2011 3:37:32 PM , Rating: 2
Cause you can put x86 in a teblet or phone and put windows on a tablet and soon put ARM on a windows PC. It's all interlinked.
But ARM hype is overdone.

RE: imagine
By niva on 2/2/2011 5:31:14 PM , Rating: 2
ARMs future has always been in devices that aren't running Windows. Looks like now some of it's profits might be because Windows will run on it in the future though.

This is a very big deal.

Farthermore the architectural differences are a big deal too. You can bet Intel is looking at this very closely.

RE: imagine
By omnicronx on 2/2/2011 11:09:58 PM , Rating: 2
My year old Zotac MAGHD only hits 35 watts while at load, it idles lower.

Thats just an Atom 330 1.6GHZ with a 9400m gpu. So as you've already shown, pc's like this already exist today with ARM.

35w for Windows on ARM would not be that impressive, i'd be thinking sub 10 watts for it to be of interest. (to start)

RE: imagine
By Da W on 2/2/2011 1:46:58 PM , Rating: 2
Imagine an x86 PC powerful enough to do EVERYTHING, works by face recognition, body movement and voice command, controls your TV, movies, videogame, your house lighning, start the coffee machine and open curtains in the morning and act as a server for your tablets/phone/portable devices which are merely 200$ terminals to access your big PC. Everything works in virtualization. You have enough storage to be free from a cloud monopoly that access your secret data, everything works flawlessly on your 3D TV or holographic projector.

I prefer that reality to being forced to buy a 1500$ gaming PC, a 1000$ streaming notebook, a 800$ android tablet and a 600$ iPhone.

RE: imagine
By dgingeri on 2/2/2011 4:56:51 PM , Rating: 2
I would hate trusting one machine to all that. I'm tweaking my main computer too often for that kind of stuff. I now have 4 computers for different things:

main: gaming, net surfing and news, school, work
secondary: HTPC (DVD, Netflix, Hulu) and backup server
tertiary: laptop with basic tools, web browsing, minor storage for helping resurrect my main when it goes down.
work laptop: for work, and only work. VPN connection with remote tools for remote administration

I'd like to add a tablet to that bunch so I can pick up news and stuff from there and leave the main for just gaming and schoolwork. I don't keep my backups on my main machine directly because I've seen a power supply die and take every single piece of gear in the machine down with it. (solder melted and connected the 12V rail to the 5V rail, and everything that used 5V was fried. cheap PS + dead fan = dead computer)

RE: imagine
By 91TTZ on 2/2/2011 2:24:08 PM , Rating: 3
But we're only talking about the CPU here.

You can get Atoms that use only 6.5 watts. I don't see how you can claim that an ARM system uses 25W and an intel system uses 100+W when you can get Intel chips that use only 6.5 watts. All else being the same, even if you used a magical ARM chip that used 0W compared to the 6.5W Atom, you're only going to save 6.5W of power for the system by going with ARM. If you're going to reduce power consumption of the peripheral devices on the ARM, then you have to do the same for the Intel system to make the comparison fair.

RE: imagine
By Taft12 on 2/2/2011 2:51:32 PM , Rating: 3
You can't "only talk about the CPU" when comparing an Atom system and an ARM SOC.

Yes the CPU has a 6.5W TDP, but you have no system without a chipset, video chip, and all the ICs on the motherboard not to mention efficiency loss in the PSU.

It's the reason Atom can't and never will run a smartphone

RE: imagine
By Da W on 2/2/2011 3:31:11 PM , Rating: 2
Intel is making an x86 atom-class processor to run on smartphone. Just a matter of time before android supports it.

RE: imagine
By fic2 on 2/2/2011 4:51:01 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly. I think the Atom chipset is something like 20-30W. Now the new AMD E-350 dual core is less than 35W for the system at load.

RE: imagine
By chick0n on 2/2/2011 3:12:49 PM , Rating: 1
What a moron, you don't even know what you're talking about. how about just stfu ? Thanks.

RE: imagine
By 91TTZ on 2/2/2011 4:16:58 PM , Rating: 2
Settle down, youngster!

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