ARM vs x86 Chips

Intel has nothing to be worried about:

…anything that an ARM chip can do to save cost or power can also be done by an x86 chip.

The real question is whether ARM does:

Now, ARM isn’t dead yet. The iPhone uses an ARM processor because there’s no x86 processor that would work as well in that system. ARM processors will probably see at least two more generations in cell phones just because there’s so much ARM-based software out there (including all the software on the App Store).

But somewhere around 2012, we’re going to see x86 chips poking into that space. The value of instruction set compatibility with the PC market will persuade developers of new cell phone platforms to go with x86 chips, and eventually even established systems like the iPhone will switch over.



One thought on “ARM vs x86 Chips

  1. The x86 architecture has a lot of unnecessary hardware baggage which is required for backward compatibility with i386 to i686 code.

    That is why the ARM is cheaper, uses less silicon and uses less power than the x86 cpu for the same performance levels – it is not because Intel is no good at designing chips.

    There is no way Intel can get around this problem without redesigning its chips to abandon backward compatibility.

    Windows compatibility isn’t important on smart phones, so Intel Atom chips aren’t going to take off on mobile phones, and in any case their power consumption for a given performance is nowhere near the ARM. The ARM vs x86 battle is going to be for the netbook market and not for the mobile phone market.

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