ARM Not Afraid of Intel's 22nm/Tri-Gate Process Technology - Company

ARM Expects Its Architecture to Continue Being More Energy-Efficient Than x86

by Anton Shilov
05/11/2011 | 11:32 AM

ARM Holdings said that despite of the fact that Intel Corp.'s recently announced 22nm process technologies with tri-gate transistors has a massive number of improvements in terms of energy-efficiency, system-on-chips powered by ARM's architecture will still be competitive. According to ARM, thanks to the fact that the architecture is supported by tens of companies, the innovations and efficiencies will come from different sources.


"This announcement is consistent with Intel's history of innovation through process improvements. The ARM ecosystem innovates along multiple points, not only the process but also through micro?architecture and system?on?chip design that enables optimised efficiency for a broad range of products," said Ian Drew, executive vice president of marketing at ARM, in an interview with The Inquirer web-site.

According to Intel itself, the 22nm process technology with tri-gate transistors provide up to 37% performance increase at low voltage versus Intel's 32nm planar transistors, and over 50% reduction of power consumption with similar performance. Some analysts further estimate that 22nm/tri-gate process tech provides performance/watt advantage of 10%-20% for power optimized chips versus a planar 22nm process. Given the fact that even today's processors from Intel provide significantly higher raw performance compared to ARM-based offerings, there are a lot of things for the British technology designer to worry about.

But the developer of low-power microprocessor technologies that power the vast majority of handsets that are sold today believes that its strength lies in its partner ecosystem, something that will take Intel a much longer time to build. Besides, the company claims that its partners are already working on SoCs to be made using 20nm and 22nm fabrication processes, which ensures that power consumption of ARM-powered system-on-chip devices will also decrease gradually even without technology breakthroughs like 22nm/tri-gate process technologies.

"We are confident that this will allow us to compete at a consistently high level within the industry," added Mr. Drew.