I give ARM good marks for seeing a development path beyond the Intel line. Intel followed a logical path exploiting their processor line into the home PC market.
ARM saw the long term potential of building a path towards customizable computer processor components to enable smaller runs of targeted processors.
I am impressed with the quality and versatility of the ARM processor line. They may now face more competition from Intel as the PC market begins to phase down. The capability to make building block components has been around for a while, so it will be interesting to see if Intel can come up with a competitive alternative.
Nice article. I was around when much of this was happening and had heard a bit about Acorn computers but was mostly unaware of how it all fit together.
I especially like this statement: 'Wilson concludes: "Hermann Hauser says he gave us the things Intel could never give us, no resources, no time and no money."'
How many great innovations have happened because someone had a job to do and not enough time, resources or money to do it?
From tiny acorns do giant oaks ( ARM ) grow ! Ironic that de-industrialized and uncompetitive England provided a more fertile soil for RISC designs to grow than out here in the desert in the shadow of giant Fabs that are still churning out CISC processors with a billion transistors. But for how long ?
They're all good. In today's world of SoC the architecture of the CPU usually, but not always, takes second or third place when comparing features like the peripheral set, Pd and package alternatives. Afterall, all Boole, et al left us with is AND and NOT...everything else is but a variation on a theme.
Thank goodness for those 10 Billion transistor giants. Want to try running SolidWorks or AnSYS' Maxwell on even the most powerful ARM8 (if they were even available)? Comparing ARM and Intel architectures is like comparing helicopters with automobiles - they both have areas where they are a great fit - but neither address the full universe of applications.
Was the ferranti ULA a sea-of-gates with a metal top layer - or was it actually an eraly FPGA ?
Google found this... chances are google run on thousands of Intel processors.... ironic.
ARM in early 90s was not so much in advance of other chips, especially MIPS, and MIPS sold a lot more. Hauser forgot one other essential thing he gave ARM: no customers. So when the mobile industry was ready to build SOCs, there was ARM with a suitable chip, fabless portable design, and no other business model to distract them. It was their one lifeline, and it proved to be a bonanza. The dominant competitor capable of providing a choice at the time, MIPS, was very successful elsewhere and by the time phones were big enough business for them to become concerned, ARM had a lock.
These days, ARM is part of SOCs with billions of transistors just like x86. The difference is in balance: in the ARM ecosystem the die is shared with IP like GPUs, modems, and half a dozen other blocks which have formed a healthy ecosystem. x86 is elbowing in: will it have more success now than MIPS 15 years ago?