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Intel Corporation Message Board

  • ltisteve@verizon.net ltisteve Nov 6, 2011 11:31 AM Flag

    Some interesting observations about ARM

    I have a set of twin teenage daughters and their phones started giving out. My wife is a huge Android fan and wanted us to buy them phones with Tegra 2 or Snapdragon (QCOM) processors. They had a buy one get one free deal on a set of Samsung Galaxy S phones. I mean, they were nearly giving them away.

    It's an old, old phone, which means that it was the final version of line that came out last year. This model came out in February and because it's a single core processor they had to charge next to nothing and give away a whole bunch of goodies.

    When we got the phones home we started noticing a few things. First of all, for a 1ghz phone it actually had better performance than my Tegra 2 phone and my wife's Snapdragon 1.2 ghz phone. Both are dual core. The second is that the battery life is huge. 600 hours on standby, over six hours of talk time. I started looking up the reviews, at the time, it came out it was the phone to beat.

    What does this all mean?

    #1. I believe Samsung has a better ARM processor plan than Qualcom and NVidia. Which is very interesting because Apple is moving away from Samsung to Qualcom for it's processors. Everybody claims that its those 1000 engineers at Apple working on the processors that make their phones and tablets great. I think perhaps Samsung gets some credit. Let's see how well Apple does without them.

    #2. ARM has hit the law of diminishing returns. The reason I pushed so hard for the single core phones is because I knew the second core didn't do much to improve performance. Now with Tegra 3 the cpu is quadcore. But it has a fifth core that runs at 500mhz on standby. I am going to call it now, there aren't that many multi-threaded apps for the phone to use, and the processor won't benefit much from the two extra cores. But it will consume more power than a dual core and a single core processor.

    In a nutshell, the problem is this. Multicore ARM processors aren't that much of a benefit for phones. Most of the apps are fairly simple and lightweight. But they are a selling point on a phone. And thus, there will be more of them, not less in the future. Each time they come up with the multi-core processors it does effect battery life. I know they are amazingly efficient, but a little less each time. I know some ARM fan will want to dispute me with charts and articles stating that the ARM quadcores are good. Really, then why does the Tegra 3 need a 5th processor core? Is it because they knew that it wouldn't last a day on standby with four cores running all the time?

    What does this mean for Intel? ARMHs main arrangement is power efficiency. And they are making less and less efficient processors for phones in their need to come out with something faster. When they go up against Intel they will try to do it on energy savings and performance. But those are two ends of the continuum. They are moving away from energy savings for performance with each generation.

    The thing that will save ARM is moving down to 28nm. They can get both energy savings and performance with thinner cores. I don't think it will happen fast enough for ARM.

    ARMH feels that they are distancing themselves from Intel with each generation. Could it be the opposite? Could they be lowering the bar instead of raising it?

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    • "Intel breaks down each division and gives numbers for it. If they are selling processors below cost and taking a huge loss they can't hide it."

      Sure... all those lawsuits were for show...

      "What Intel does have that ARMH and ARM fabs and sales companies don't have is a HUGE marketing budget. "

      ARMH does not...
      But combine ASUS, Motorola, Qualcomm, NVidia, TI, HTC, SAmsung, on & on...
      and that's a HUGE marketing budget.

      "They have spent billions to promote the brand name Intel. "

      Yes, INtel has a 4-note jingle that we recognize as INtel...

      "Do the names Hummingbird and Tegra ring a bell to conusmers?"

      Does Sandy Bridge or ATOM ?

      "In a rush to sell for as little as possible they forgot to take a decent profit,"

      Hmmm... could've sworn Qualcomm just gave some impressive numbers and giving impressive guidance how well their new ARM SOC will do in 2012...

      "I think consumers are willing to pay a premium for an Intel processor."

      AS long as there is no alternative, INtel can & will maintain it's monopoly prices...
      Why ? Because they can !!

    • ARMH and their Fanboys are little brother and always will be. Why give them the time of day? They are runts.

    • ltisteve@verizon.net ltisteve Nov 8, 2011 10:07 AM Flag

      Intel breaks down each division and gives numbers for it. If they are selling processors below cost and taking a huge loss they can't hide it.

      What Intel does have that ARMH and ARM fabs and sales companies don't have is a HUGE marketing budget. They have spent billions to promote the brand name Intel. It's actually more popular in Asia than it is here. Do the names Hummingbird and Tegra ring a bell to conusmers? Ask a woman if she has a Snapdragon while she's holding a phone and she may think you are getting fresh with her.

      For the record, Intel will pay for half of an ad if they get a mention in the ad. How many ARM companies can do this? In a rush to sell for as little as possible they forgot to take a decent profit, which will not work in their favor when Intel enters their market. I think consumers are willing to pay a premium for an Intel processor. They always have.

    • 'Take a memory chip, and an INtel processor... why can INtel charge a magnitude more for the same size piece of silicon... because it can !!!! The customers have NO choice... AMD doesn't have the capacity .'

      Customers have always had choice, Intel is the No.1 survivor out of a PC microprocessor battle that has been going on for nearly 30 years now and which included ARM first time round in the Acorn computers. AMD had market share up to 25% at one time and it was bringing extra capacity online so that argument doesn't hold water. Intel charges what it can because its products are better than anyone else for the same market. It's that simple. Sure Intel throws its weight around, but all strong No.1s do that, it comes with the territory. Show me an altruistic laid back No.1 that doesn't try to increase its position by any means ? IBM, MSFT, GOOG, AAPL ? I don't think so ;-).

      p.s. I also think it's called laptop not labtop.

    • Great post, full of the right historical lessons.

    • why need multi-cores on a phone???????

      These CPU is really for tablet.

      You don't see AMR showing their performance/power ratio chart. Yes, it is flat or even going down.

    • It was from one of many lawsuits...
      google it...
      but it is common knowledge

      but this was the first result returned my google search... I'm sure there are far more informative links...
      http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/19/intel-lifting-netbook-screen-size-restrictions-for-next-gen-atom/

    • "Ex) Customers can only put ATOMs in labtops with small screens, why ??"

      That is just too hard to believe. What do you base this statement on ?

    • A labtop costs more than the equivalent powered desktop... The components need more qual testing fitting into a tighter space with less room for heat dissipation, including the more expensive packaging.

      Take a memory chip, and an INtel processor... why can INtel charge a magnitude more for the same size piece of silicon... because it can !!!!
      The customers have NO choice... AMD doesn't have the capacity .

      The power of the INtel monopoly is so strong, they dictate to their customers what devices INtel chips can go into.
      Ex) Customers can only put ATOMs in labtops with small screens, why ??
      Because it protects INtel's more expensive processors that INtel puts in more desirable larger screen labtops.

      "Intel can compete on the same price level as ARM for the sale of low cost processors. "

      SUre, INtel standard MO is to subsidize their new market and dump below cost... more to harm the competition than to initially make $$ from it.
      Then pay the $1B fine after making their competitors lose far more...
      They make so much from other lines, that they can easily afford to do so.
      Just google all the lawsuits thru the years from INtel bundling...

      "HUGE Intel profits."

      Yes, a monopoly has its advantages...
      But next gen ARM devices, supporting Win8, will force INtel ASPs lower...

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