Looks great! It's a good thing to heat up the competition. ARM makes good cores but too many engineers (or their managers) put too much emphasis on "wanting an ARM core". Truth is that with different peripheral sets between ARM chips and compilers taking care of differences between cores, there really isn't much difference between porting code from one ARM chip to another and porting code from an ARM chip to another core, at least for RTOS and bare metal systems that these smaller cores tend to be used for.
I learned of a new core today with this article and was surprised! I thought I knew most of the players but I have to confess to not even knowing anything about Andes until reading about it here. It is nice to be surprised (once in awhile anyway). Thanks for bringing me up to speed!
To have a look at their website it appears that they still thinking larger lithography by using clock gating. I do not see power gating mentioned which seems to say that they have not gotten to the current technology in their IP.
As anyone who evaluates CPU core technology or chip/SoCs knows it will be difficult for anyone to build the ecosystem needed to challenge ARM (well unless they are Intel). So, I look forward to seeing Andes replace the 8bit systems which can reduce much of strain on those low end chips I cannot be certain that it will replace ARM in the nearer term (unless ARM chooses to ignore the challenge or EOL some current products).
In the very low end MCUs where this will get used, it is more than just the CPU - it is the subsytem around it including interrupts, low power features, interface to embedded flash and the software tool chain and ecosystem. ARM is hard to beat in this area.
The only advantage as Linley points out to Andes it the cost. This will keep ARM honest and that is always good for the market.
I'm heavy ARM user, but I think the success key is the easiness to understand then to use, and the price. We already have many option about performance, power and extendability to choose core, not saying only ARM. Old engineers tend to use their favorite core. Almost young engineers like new cores, normally student. So Easiness. And they should survive until these young engineers grow up. So Price. I think ARM Cortex series is already too complex, even for M series.
The key part for me was “Given what ARM is charging, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could cut your costs in half or more”
As usual, it's about the money. The Andes core can be had for less in licensing costs than an equivalent ARM core, and there are relentless cost pressures in the semi-conductor market.
Is the Andes core as good as ARM? It doesn't matter. The proper question is "Is it good *enough* for the job to which it will be applied?". It appears an assortment of customers think it is.
I don't see ARM exactly quaking in their boots. They have a commanding position in various segments of the market, so their question will likely be "Do we cut licensing costs to preserve and possibly extend market share?" That will depend upon what they believe the net effect on revenues and profits will be from doing it.
“Given what ARM is charging, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could cut your costs in half or more” using the Andes cores, said Linley Gwennap, principal of market watcher The Linley Group (Mountain View, Calif.).
hmm.. how much is ARM charging per chip.. IINW, the royalties are less than 1~2% which I feel is pretty low already.