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Your takeaway from the Fool blog post is flawed in its understanding regarding the competitive distinctions between Intel and ARMH.


I could say the same about your post but that would only get us into a religious war which neither one of us needs. LOL

ARM and x86 architectures are both decades old but neither company has stood still. Their development has gone into different directions to satisfy their respective markets. Besides, computer processing is fungible: just about anything you can do in hardware you can do in software; anything you can do with an ultra fast chip you can match with parallel or multi-core processing. Suppose someone using an ARM license needs a very fast chip, they could put ten cores on the chip and share the onboard memory space.

A more important factor than raw speed is power consumption in untethered devices. The chip's physical construction affects it but so does the system architecture. Most computational devices don't operate at full speed all the time. One way to reduce power consumption is by turning off parts of the chip that are not in use. Another is to have multiple cores on the chip and to turn off the ones not in use. You could have a 32 bit core for use when the device is in sleep mode and a 64 bit one for heavy duty lifting. While Intel has concentrated on processing speed ARM has concentrated on low power consumption while increasing the processing capacity. Lately they announced a 64 bit architecture suitable for web servers. As Google has shown, you don't need the fastest servers if you have lots of them. Slower parallel computing can do what faster serial computing can to.

At the end of the day all the technical stuff can't tell you which architecture will triumph here or there. You really need to run benchmarks and other tests to find out which architecture is best for your application. In addition there is the business model, not everyone is happy to depend on Intel as sole source of chips. Fool Dirty Dingus called ARM the "kinder, gentler gorilla" for good reason. I believe that Apple is the smartest kid in the room. They traded the IBM/Motorola Power PC for Intel chips in Macs but they went with a proprietary ARM based design for their mobile stuff. Samsung, who makes the Android phones, also uses ARM architecture chips. I can't see any good reason for them to switch to Intel. On the other hand, I have read about several initiatives to build ARM based web servers which would be a direct attack on Intel. I certainly don't say Intel is doomed. All I say is that PCs and servers are Intel's market to lose and they might.

Denny Schlesinger
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