Breaking News
Comments
Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
przem
User Rank
Manager
re: Saving a fundamentally flawed business
przem   10/4/2012 4:23:20 AM
NO RATINGS
Atom is Intel's current foray into low power computing. Before that, they spent 30 years perfecting the standard platform, which used power like there's no tomorrow---the goal was speed, and the only limitation was the 150W TDP region where aircooled heatsinks are no longer sufficient. So maybe that first attempt at low power as primary driver is not that great, but don't discount Intel: their x86 CPUs use leading semiconductor technology (sub20nm geometry, FINFET transistors, high-K dielectrics, exotic metalization) and Intel's proprietary layout tricks. ARM may have a better architecture, but they use standard cell layout and more standard processes. I can't possibly go wrong by predicting that ARM will improve the speed of ARM chips, just like Intel will improve the Atom. In the end, what may become the differentiating factor is that because of all this fanciness Intel's cost structure is higher and they can't sell Atoms for around a dollar, which is where ARM seems to be. Therefore, they will keep occupying high performance end of the market, in particular serving those unfortunate folks that can't port their software away from x86 binary dependence. ARM will make inroads on the strength of better native performance and superior power efficiency. Emulation may matter to some but more as a checkbox item, a security blanket that makes it easier to switch platforms. I can't see it having significant practical use.

JeffL_2
User Rank
CEO
re: Saving a fundamentally flawed business
JeffL_2   10/3/2012 6:28:24 PM
NO RATINGS
I'm citing Anandtech's benchmark: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6324/the-iphone-5-performance-preview If the Atom (or the x86 architecture in general) can't cut it running on a cell phone, what makes you think it's all that superior on a data center? (I'm suggesting a reasonable apples-to-apples comparison here, I'm sure given time and semi-infinite available power ARM will be able to extend their concept even further into the "big iron" marketplace. After all the cell phone and server arenas differ far more in their power budgets than they do in their S/W.)

przemek
User Rank
Rookie
re: Saving a fundamentally flawed business
przemek   10/3/2012 6:04:15 PM
NO RATINGS
Right, I read the article and it says that they emulate x86 with 40% (or even 80%) of native performance OF THE ARM PLATFORM (not the native x86 as you seem to believe), which is significantly lower than the performance of the real deal server-class x86 from Intel. Why would anyone implement a datacenter on those ARM chips if Intel software compatiblity was important to them? Don't get me wrong---I love ARM, as an embedded platform and even as an energy-efficient server platform. I just don't think using them to emulate x86 makes sense. By the way, what does it even mean that "iPhone 5 is the world's fastest cell phone"? It calls faster? Even if it was fast on some metric (video decoding? running games?) you're talking about smartphone market segment, which is irrelevant to data centers.

JeffL_2
User Rank
CEO
re: Saving a fundamentally flawed business
JeffL_2   10/3/2012 4:33:13 PM
NO RATINGS
Like I said READ THE ARTICLE! Elbrus has developed binary translation technology, they can currently demonstrate 40% performance of native x86 but will shortly get it to 80% that they can currently foresee. And servers ARE the "cloud-based back end" where compatibility is still quite important. Also ARM doesn't generically "lag in performance", ARM-based iPhone 5 is the world's fastest cell phone despite there being several Atom-based platforms currently on the market to challenge it.

krisi
User Rank
CEO
re: Saving a fundamentally flawed business
krisi   10/3/2012 4:13:24 PM
NO RATINGS
Good point Bill

przemek
User Rank
Rookie
re: Saving a fundamentally flawed business
przemek   10/3/2012 3:54:54 PM
NO RATINGS
I just don't understand how an x86 emulation on ARM can help. ARM lags in performance, but makes it up in its market segment by superior power efficiency. Emulating x86 on such slower chips is bound to be slow-squared. The only reason to do it would be legacy applications, but the whole point of the post-PC era is that it's no longer the Wintel monopoly: backwards compatibility requirement is over. The new software is portable---either because it's Open Source (like Android) or because it is written in Java or HTML5, or is really a light client running against a cloud-based back end.

JeffL_2
User Rank
CEO
re: Saving a fundamentally flawed business
JeffL_2   10/3/2012 3:39:17 PM
NO RATINGS
Right, but look at the current article about Elbrus Technologies creating an efficient x86 emulator for ARM chips, effectively negating the major reason behind Intel's dominance in server markets. (Intel had an opportunity to develop ARM technology but sold it to Marvell if you recall.) If Intel becomes less relevant then so does Wintel. That doesn't make Microsoft "irrelevant" overnight, but it sure isn't doing much to bolster its long-term survival. That puts two more major techs in the "aging dinosaur" column...!

bill1230
User Rank
Rookie
re: Saving a fundamentally flawed business
bill1230   10/2/2012 4:27:10 PM
NO RATINGS
There's always hope. Look at Apple 1996.



Flash Poll
EE Life
Frankenstein's Fix, Teardowns, Sideshows, Design Contests, Reader Content & More
Engineer's Bookshelf
Caleb Kraft

The Martian: A Delightful Exploration of Math, Mars & Feces
Caleb Kraft
3 comments
To say that Andy Weir's The Martian is an exploration of math, Mars, and feces is a slight simplification. I doubt that the author would have any complaints, though.

The Engineering Life - Around the Web
Caleb Kraft

Surprise TOQ Teardown at EELive!
Caleb Kraft
Post a comment
This year, for EELive! I had a little surprise that I was quite eager to share. Qualcom had given us a TOQ smart watch in order to award someone a prize. We were given complete freedom to ...

Design Contests & Competitions
Caleb Kraft

Join The Balancing Act With April's Caption Contest
Caleb Kraft
47 comments
Sometimes it can feel like you're really performing in the big tent when presenting your hardware. This month's caption contest exemplifies this wonderfully.

Engineering Investigations
Caleb Kraft

Frankenstein's Fix: The Winners Announced!
Caleb Kraft
8 comments
The Frankenstein's Fix contest for the Tektronix Scope has finally officially come to an end. We had an incredibly amusing live chat earlier today to announce the winners. However, we ...

Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)