Ooops AMD admits ARMH's power advantage over Intel may be short-lived
AMD: ARM's power advantages could wane in the coming years
ARM's power advantages over typical x86 chips from Intel and AMD will continue for around half a decade before fading away, according to AMD.
Yesterday, AMD announced it would start making ARM-based servers in 2014, and today Suresh Gopalakrishnan, general manager of AMD's server business unit, told ZDNet that ARM's power advantages could be short-lived.
"If you increase the capabilities of the [ARM] processor, it will consume more power. At the same time, if you start working on the [x86] architecture and process together you can bring the power down as well," Gopalakrishnan told me. "Right now ARM has the [power] advantage - five years down the road we'll see."
In the future, Intel will bring in new energy-thrifty chips built on its advanced 14nm and 10nm fabrication methods, which will help it lower their power consumption, while ARM's chips will consume more power as more features are added to them to let them tackle more advanced server workloads.
So, in a few years, the power advantages which are propelling ARM's chips into cloud datacentres like Facebook's could fade as technological forces conspire to close the gap in electricity usage.
Why is AMD licensing ARM for servers now then? Because it can bring the 64-bit chips out years before the power window closes, Gopalakrishnan said.
Microprocessors standalone aren't that useful. SOCs fill that gap to make them useful. To build a new SOC licensing helps. You can't license Intel's core only ARM. More than power licensing is the clincher. Ecosystem is developed for ARM license. Intel still is a silo in comparison.