ARM Maps Out Attack on Intel Core i5

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johnrhenle

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Always on is pure marketing with very little substance. To tether my laptop to my phone takes about 2 seconds - unlock the phone, swipe down, click the button to turn on wifi tethering. Done, and I don't have to pay for a second cell line. That said, ARM has two big problems to overcome to compete with Intel in the laptop or desktop environment, software and price.

Even if their chips are more modern and more efficient, if they attempt to compete with a u series i5 on Windows, they're going to have to use 10 to 15W ARM parts to compete with 15W Intel chips to overcome the x86 emulation, so they really need Microsoft to do a much better job supporting apps designed and optimized for x86 on ARM platforms. But really I think that means they need all app developers to release builds for Windows on ARM and I don't see that happening until there is a huge demand for it.

Now assuming they do get that support, there is the pricing issue. The high performance ARM platforms released and announced so far that can run Windows 10 are flagship SOCs with flagship pricing. But they have to compete with Intel's main stream mid range chips that cost half what these flagship ARM SOCs cost. Actually, right now Snapdragon 835 is almost competitive with quad core Braswell (right up until x86 emulation comes into play), but a Braswell SOC costs a third what a Snapdragon 835 costs.

I think the only way they can penetrate the Windows laptop market is if they can both improve performance enough to be competitive (which right now they are no where close to) and cut the cost substantially to give people some incentive to be an early adopter and try out an ARM laptop even though the ecosystem of ARM optimized applications doesn't exist yet. They have to do both because no one wants a slow, crappy laptop at any price, and most people won't pay a premium for an acceptably quick laptop that can't run the software they need.

Now if they could just get away from Windows and take the x86 emulation out of the picture, they'd have a pretty good product. These would probably make great Chromebooks or Linux laptops. But again, pricing would be critical.
 

1_rick

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"The Cortex-A76 promises a 35% performance uplift"

It'll be nice if these can approach the performance of the x86--and Windows and Linux support them without end-user issues like the limitations of ARM Win10.

But when did people decide the perfectly serviceable "increase" needed to be replaced with the goofy-sounding "uplift"? It's like that time in the 90s when TV Guide started calling the broadcast TV networks "webs".
 

1_rick

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"Now if they could just get away from Windows and take the x86 emulation out of the picture, they'd have a pretty good product. These would probably make great Chromebooks or Linux laptops."

I don't miss the days of "make sure you download the right executable for your CPU architecture, or build from source yourself", personally.

The same things that would make them good Chromebooks or Linux boxes--not running superfluous x86 emulation--would probably make them cromulent under Windows, too (albeit at the cost mentioned in my first paragraph.)
 

Dosflores

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If running x86 code is what matters to you, why would you run Windows 10 on ARM? Someone who buys a laptop that is powered by a 5W CPU will only be interested in non-CPU-intensive applications, which will surely have native ARM versions.
 

jimmysmitty

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Probably slower since it will have to emulate x86 instead of natively run it. It will be similar to Intels Itanium uArch in that respect.

I do like how they tout large performance gains. Of course when performance is so much lower than the competition the performance gains will be better.

I only wonder if ARMs efficiency will still exist as their CPU becomes more complex or if it will do like all things and probably match up to Intel/AMD.
 
Specint2006 the only bench they showed
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPECint
CPU2006 is a set of benchmarks designed to test the CPU performance of a modern server computer system

Thus, the performance measured is that of the CPU, RAM, and compiler, and does not test I/O, networking, or graphics.

As the SPEC benchmarks are distributed as source code, it is up to the party performing the test to compile this code.



Seems legit brah.
 

hellwig

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How about single-core performance? Not all applications or jobs are multithreaded/threadable. It's nice that a chip with 8 or more cores has total performance over a dual or quad-core chip (while consuming less power), but there are certain things you can't just throw more cores at.
 

hecksagon

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In the mean time Intel just doubled their core counts on the 8th gen chips while keeping roughly the same TDP, uplifting multi threaded performance by about 50% in one generation.
 


Errrrr,doubled from their famous 3core chips? The 9th may have 8 cores but even that's still just a rumor.
 

Gary Camp

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Is the Win 10 on this CPU running The 86 emulation or the ARM WIN 10 from Microsoft? Emulation would make this useless as it is already slower. ARM code would not be very useful either because most code is 86.

I see Cloud, Chromebook and Linux the only useful options, but that may be enough Niche space for them. Maybe a super cell phone here and there (foldable?).
 

walter.eckalbar

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John,

"Now if they could just get away from Windows and take the x86 emulation out of the picture, they'd have a pretty good product. These would probably make great Chromebooks or Linux laptops. But again, pricing would be critical."

About half way down the piece this dawned on me as well. If they could make a cheap-ish Raspbian laptop for example, that would be mildly attractive for education. Build your way up from there.
 

Dosflores

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It runs an ARM version of Win 10, which features support for running x86 applications through emulation. Windows itself and ARM applications would be as fast as on a Core i5-U laptop. x86-only applications would be slower because of emulation.

No one who wants to run CPU-intensive applications would buy a Core i5-U laptop anyway. They're meant for Office stuff at most, and I bet Microsoft will release a good-enough ARM version of Office.
 

velocityg4

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As it's being touted as being able to run Windows 10. Most Windows 10 applications are x86 native not some FAT binary with both ARM and x86 native code. People who don't understand any of this can buy these laptops and have them run like garbage. While an i5-7300u offers ample processing power for most home and business productivity tasks.

As far as I can tell the full fledged version of office is still x86 only. ARM just has lightened versions. The same goes for Google Chrome in Windows 10. So, they need to be emulated.
 

jimmysmitty

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Its not a rumor, its been confirmed that the i9 9700K and 9900K will be 8 core CPUs.
 

It's basically RISC vs CISC. So far, CISC (what x86 is) has won every time. I won't discount the possibility of CPUs becoming so fast that RISC (what ARM is) becomes more optimal for casual users. But the burden of proof falls upon ARM to make it happen. Not for Intel to prove it won't.


You have to keep in mind that Microsoft is not beholden to Intel. That's the whole reason they made Windows for ARM. Not because they wanted to bring Windows apps to tablets and phones. But because they wanted to make sure they had a contingency plan if ARM somehow ends up beating Intel. If that happens, Microsoft will be ready to transition Windows over to ARM with minimal fuss, instead of having to start it from scratch and losing OS market share while they play catch-up. Why bet on one horse when you can bet on both?

So yes there's a barrier to entry for Windows apps on ARM hardware. But it's not going to be as big as most people are assuming it'll be. If the ARM laptop hardware shows significant improvements upon Intel, then buyers and Microsoft will make it happen.

IMHO the biggest challenge isn't matching or beating Intel's performance per Watt. It's that CPUs have already become so power-thrifty that the biggest power load is frequently the screen, motherboard, and RAM, not the CPU. 10-15 years ago, reducing laptop CPU power consumption by 35% would've been a big deal. Today, it'll probably only result in a 10% reduction in total power consumption, which translates into a meh 30-45 minutes extra battery life. Not exactly exciting enough to encourage people to transition to a different CPU architecture.
 

Dosflores

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The most exciting thing about ARM laptops is their always-on and 5G support. If 5G is as good as they're saying it will be, a Wi-Fi-only laptop will seem as inconvenient as a non-wireless laptop seems today.
 

Spinachy

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The ARM graphs compare a 2 year old dual-core Core i5-7300U with a still to be released Cortex A76. Coffee Lake was released more than a year ago !! ARM are pretending the quad-core Core i5-8250U doesn't exist.
 
I really don't buy into this from ARM. First that is likely best case performance that wont quit be achieved. Then they are comparing to lower end year old chips from Intel. By the time someone makes this ARM chip, Intel will be on 10nm, at least for these lower power CPU's since Intel already has the i3-8121U out on 10nm. I wouldn't mind ARM being competitive but I just doubt it's going to be the case.
 

urbanman2004

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ARM give it up. Intel and AMD are lightyears ahead when it comes to their processors' power running Windows. Stick to what you're supposedly good at: phones ;)
 
Sep 20, 2018
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95+ percent of a modern Intel or AMD cpu are used to help the processor mitigate memory latency. This does not have anything to do with instruction set. For arm to get close to the real performance of a i5 processor it will need to and most of the complexity of the i5 to get there.
 
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