ARM taking Intel seriously, but not too much

ARM taking Intel seriously, but not too much
ARM has been pretty much unrivaled in the mobile processor market, with all of the big-name players like Samsung, Texas Instruments, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Apple using ARM architecture for their SoCs. This is because ARM's chip technology has been the only solution to build very powerful, yet highly energy-efficient processors, like the ones needed in smartphones and tablets.

For the longest of times, however, Intel has been eying the mobile sector as the next big opportunity for expansion, and it's as if the company's efforts in this direction have been getting more pronounced lately. Intel made a few important announcements this year, and the first commercial phone with Intel inside is already out on the market... the not so market-disturbing Orange Santa Clara. We've also seen a handful of other Intel-powered prototypes, but nothing that really blows us away. Still, we do believe that at some (unknown) point in time Intel will eventually produce a chip that is good enough for competitive phones and tablets, and will get a piece of the mobile market. Meanwhile, though, in an interview with Pocket-lint, ARM's VP of Segment Marketing, Vincent Korstanje, has stated that ARM's taking Intel seriously, but has also added that ARM considers itself to be "one to two generations ahead".

Honestly, we share their belief. ARM isn't resting on its laurels and is constantly working to improve its tech. Intel has been preparing us for its grand entry in the mobile business, but it hasn't made any significant move yet. Halfway through 2012, we still have no reason to believe this is going to change soon.

source: Pocket-lint



1. MeoCao unregistered

Intel is one of the monopolistic companies just like MS, they rely too much on their power in the PC market. Look how our PCs are heating like crazy to see where Intel is at. Can Intel change their culture and become innovative again? I don't bet on it.

3. alterecho

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

Yeah. They are also accused by EU for anti-competitive practices against AMD in the x86 space. They do make powerful CPUs though. Look what they did with with Medfield. Its single core goes up against ARM's dual core CPUs. That too with a x86 processor and still giving decent power draw. ARM should be watchful. They shouldn't let Intel get the upperhand in mobile space too.

5. superguy

Posts: 454; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

While I don't think Intel is totally innocent when it comes to competition, I also think the EU's litigation was suspect considering how much money German governments at the federal and state levels invested in AMD. They definitely had an axe to grind.

4. superguy

Posts: 454; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

I disagree. Intel does well when Intel has competition. When AMD isn't competitive, Intel gets complacent. However, look at what happened when AMD destroyed Intel with the earlier Hammer processors. It spurred Intel and got them moving to create some pretty good PC chips. However, now that Intel's back on top, they're getting complacent as AMD hasn't been able to mount a significant challenge to them. I think the same will happen in the mobile arena. It'll take Intel awhile to get caught up to ARM, but they'll catch up. Intel has some great engineers and has been pretty visionary in a lot of areas. It would be foolish to count them out yet. Competition would definitely be good in this arena. Don't forget that Intel was once an ARM licensee too before they sold that business off to Marvell. So it's not like they don't know how to build mobile processors - they've just been doing it differently for awhile now. I bet they regret selling their ARM business off to Marvell now though. :D

6. randomguest

Posts: 20; Member since: Jun 26, 2012

They are innovative, they build the most powerful commercial chips. Just not the most power efficient ones.

7. MeoCao unregistered

What Intel does is essentially scaling up the CPU. That's why it becomes hotter and hotter. You don't need lots of innovation to scale things up, which many other companies can do and IBM is the leading innovator in this area as far as I know.

10. superguy

Posts: 454; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

Take a look at Ivy Bridge with the 3D transistors (just one example) and tell me Intel isn't innovative. What you're saying was true back in the P4 days as they were just focused on clockspeed and how high they could get that number. And yes, they're first dual core processors were essentially 2 unicore chips glued together. However, they've gone way past that now. Now it's about cores and tech to make the processors more efficient and more powerful. They're doing that because they CAN'T just crank up the clock speed anymore.

11. MeoCao unregistered

Hey, I guess a big company like Intel can come up with some improvement once in a while, but is Ivy Bridge really that big? This is mainly Intel's marketing machine blowing things out of proportion. How is that big innovation when ivy bridge is still much more power inefficient than ARM architecture? A lot of time AMD chips were much better than Intel's but can't compete with Intel's monopoly and dirty tricks. ARM can be successful b-c they caught intel off guard and became strong before Intel could squeeze them out of oxygen.

12. superguy

Posts: 454; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

Give me a break. First off, Intel and ARM have largely worked in different sectors. They're doing completely different things and suited to different tasks. That's like putting a Ferrari up against the Prius and saying the Ferrari sucks because it gets 8 miles per gallon. AMD may have had better chips, but that was often because they came out 6 months later and improved on Intel's design. AMD had chipset problems back in the day (Via's sucked rocks, and Nvidia's weren't that much better). I would hope that they would make a better chip. The only thing innovative AMD really did was with the Hammer architcture. They really had Intel scrambling for awhile. However, they didn't keep it up ... they rested on their laurels and allowed Intel to catch up. Now Intel is back on top again. Intel wasn't worried about squeezing off ARM. They were an ARM licensee at one point. However, they didn't predict the mobile sector changing like it did - I'll give you that. If anything, had Intel not sold off its business to Marvell, Intel would be making ARM processors like Samsung, TI, and Nvidia. They wouldn't have to choke ARM off because they would be paying ARM for every processor they made! What would have been more logical is Intel trying to buy ARM outright.

13. MeoCao unregistered

I don't think ARM and Intel chips are much different, after all ARM chips can be used to run servers all right. It just Intel chips can't do what ARM chips can.

14. superguy

Posts: 454; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

:rolleyes: And how many ARM cores will it take to do the job an x86 processor can do? It's going to be a lot more than a 1:1 match between the two. That's like saying Intel and IBM chips aren't much different when they're a totally different architecture. They don't even run on the same instruction set. You can safely say AMD and Intel chips aren't much different - they may have some differences but they run the same code. Try running x86 on an ARM processor and vice versa and tell me they're not that different. ARM was built from the ground up to be power efficient. Intel was built for computing power. You're going to trade off one for the other, and it's not an easy task to make one architecture to do the other. If it were, BOTH companies would be doing it.

15. MeoCao unregistered

Of course they are different, ARM is RISC and Ivy Bridge is CISC based. ARM is for Linux and Ivy Bridge is Windows. But structurally they can be tweaked to perform the other's functions. What I mean is if 3D transistors are that power efficient why Intel does not use the technology for its mobile chips? And if you know what Intel did to AMD you will not have reason to think they won't do the same to ARM. They don't do it only b-c they can't.

2. jove39

Posts: 2146; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Well...Intel has to tackle arm invasion in server market...where Intel dominates...people have demonstrated servers built on arm chips...that consume lot less power and perform almost as good as x86 based market...Intel has no it'll come way too behind in priority list.

8. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Intel could use some serious competition in the desktop market. Because AMD has fallen off big time in the last few years. My main problem with Intel chips is the POS graphics. Would like to see them finally take graphics seriously

9. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Medfield seems about on pair with A15 in terms of processing power per core. But the thing is, its only about half as energy efficient. To counter this, Intel should shrink the die size to about half that of the ARM competing chip. And with their developments in 14nm architecture, it looked they are on the right track. But Samsung is "ruining" that with their own advancements in manufacturing process, with 22nm and 14nm being around the corner. So yeah, ARM still looks like to horse to bet on.

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