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Intel Hardware

Intel Shifts Might To Mobile 79

CWmike writes "After years of dominance in computer chips, Intel now is chasing the mobile chip market and trying to redefine its future. During Intel's financial analyst meeting Monday, CEO Paul Otellini announced that he is refocusing the company, moving its 'center' from PC processors to processors for the burgeoning mobile market. 'I think Intel recognizes that they absolutely have to get a win here,' said analyst Rob Enderle. 'All the activity is in mobile. A post-PC era would be a post-Intel era if they don't get a beachhead established.' Earlier this month, Intel made a move in this new direction when it unveiled its new 3D transistor technology that is expected to position the chip maker to grab a piece of the mushrooming tablet market."
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Intel Shifts Might To Mobile

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  • Re:little late (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @05:20PM (#36171178) Journal
    Not just tablets. I have an ARM-based laptop. It's painfully slow on big compile jobs (LLVM takes over 5 house to compile - ouch!), but for FireFox and OpenOffice it's fine. It's cheap, light, and has a decent battery life. I absolute terms, it's much slower than x86 machine, but for a lot of users it would be fast enough.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @05:34PM (#36171362) Journal

    The interpretation and translation of instructions is some constant number of transistors, the rest of the architecture is moving ahead

    Not really. One of the things the VirtualPC team at connectix discovered was that a large number of x86 instructions have side effects (e.g. setting condition flags) that, 90%+ of code ignores. In a hardware x86 implementation, you have to burn energy computing these.

    There are lots of other things that make x86 harder to implement efficiently, for example the lack of predicated instructions. ARM can do short conditional statements without needing branches, which means that it can get away with a simpler (and therefore less power-hungry) branch predictor.

    It's not just a case that you translate x86 or ARM into more or less the same RISCy set of micro-ops and then run them on similar hardware - the ISA forces certain design decisions all the way along the pipeline.

    You can't license and customize Atom CPUs

    Yes you can. You've been able to for over a year. Intel will even fab the customised SoC for you. As yet, I don't know of any company that has chosen to do so, however.

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