Analysts Expect ARM Microprocessors to Be Viable Competitors for x86 in 2015

IDC Expects ARM Chips to Be Inside 13% of PCs in Four Years

by Anton Shilov
05/05/2011 | 10:39 PM

Nowadays microprocessors based on ARM architecture currently power the absolute majority of handsets and a lot of other low-power consumer electronics. At the same time, at present ARM-based chips cannot offer enough performance to power personal computers, unlike x86-based chips. Nevertheless, some analysts believe that in four years time every tenth PC will be "ARMed".

By 2015, IDC expects that over 13% of PC processors will be based on the ARM architecture, International Data Corp. said in a recent microprocessor report.

 

Generally, it is widely believed that ARM Cortex-A15 technology will be able to offer generally high performance to power next-generation personal computers. At the same time, even Cortex-A15 is generally not a 64-bit architecture, which is why ARM will have to develop yet another microprocessor technology (or an extended version of the Cortex-A15 "Eagle") in order to properly compete against modern x86 chips in workloads that use a lot of memory.

Both Advanced Micro Devices and Intel Corp. believe that it is easier for them to cut power consumption of x86-based chips than for ARM to boost performance of its cores. As a result, the companies currently have two micro-architectures per company: one is designed for maximum performance (Bulldozer, Sandy Bridge), another is designed for lowest power consumption (Atom, Bobcat).

Even though ARM Cortex-A-based system-on-chips can power certain devices which can be called (to a certain degree) personal computers, those systems will hardly match high-performance x86-based PCs in terms of speed and capabilities.