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  • theblueredmonk theblueredmonk Sep 5, 2011 6:49 AM Flag

    TSMC/ARM versus Intel/Atom

    The ARM fans have always managed to turn the argument toward power consumption. I believe that the argument will come down to R&D and investment in infrastructure.
    ------

    It's not just power consumption - it's the three P's:

    Power, Performance and Price. Arm wins on two of those and depending on what benchmarks you look at, performance as well.

    The 'mistake' (I am not suggesting you are making this mistake) is people just talk about the CPU's (Atom V ARM A8/A9/A15). This is wrong. You need to compare the infrastructure that is needed to build complex multi-core SoC's. Look at the deals and relationships between the fabs, ARM and other IP vendors.

    Even Intel doesn't have the resources to build all the IP components needed in a SoC. Look at the new Cedar Trail Atom Intel has dropped it's own graphics core and used a 3rd party core instead.

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    • ltisteve@verizon.net ltisteve Sep 5, 2011 11:25 AM Flag

      So, you are saying that the relationship with other vendors to build the SOc's will help be a deciding factor? The one thing Intel has in it's favor is the ability to make huge lots of processors. Of course they would need to get a lot of design wins to do this. If they can drum up enough support they can purchase in volumes that could make a significant, positive financial contribution to the balance sheet of the winning vendor.

      http://www.tomshardware.com/news/atom-cpu-plans-medfield-moorestown,12829.html

      In the Intel 3 year ramp up as the above article mentions this is where ARM may find it difficult to do battle with Intel. Intel can lead with performance, be in the zone on power, and may even get a premium for their processors.

      That's the real danger for ARM, for the most part, people don't know much about the processors in their phone. Other than it's "Fast." Intel has one of top 50 brand names on the planet, their logo is identifiable and people will be attracted to it, and yes, may even pay a bit of a premium for it. And to make matters worse Intel has a long standing advertising program with computer manufactures such as Dell to pay for half the ad if Intel gets mentioned in the ad. So, yes, smaller companies like HTC and you know Motorola will be taking advantage of this and making phones with Intel processors inside.

      Intel clearly can't walk into the the cell phone market and rip out a 40% market share overnight. They will fight for each percentage point of the market. But as the movie Field of Dreams said "If you build it (22nm Atom Processors) they (design wins) will come."


      I read the entire article about the 450mm fabs (Thanks Alexander) . That proves some interesting points such as the cost of R&D will go up along with manufacturing costs, complexities, etc. So, I guess it does reinforce my point that the future is about R&D and infrastructure. That's why I am thinking ARM may have a problem against Intel's ramp up in the future.

    • re:Power, Performance and Price. Arm wins on two of those and depending on what benchmarks you look at, performance as well.

      LOL. I'd love to see the "performance" of an arm-based tablet trying to run Win8 and a real-world Office application. It wont matter anyway as there is no way in the world Win8 will support backward compatibility.

 
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