by Anton Shilov
03/27/2013 | 11:45 PM
A little over a month ahead of a CEO switch at Intel Corp., a co-founder of ARM Holdings, a leading designer of low-power processor architectures, urges the world’s largest chipmaker to make friends with ARM and buy a license to develop chips compatible with ARM architectures or instruction-sets.
"As an ARM shareholder, I recommend Intel to take an ARM license and stop messing about," said Robin Saxby, a co-founder of ARM, at the GSA Entrepreneurship Conference at the British Museum, reports ElectronicsWeekly.com web-site.
Even though Intel dominates the market of personal computers, servers and workstations with its microprocessors and its x86 architecture (used by Intel and AMD), so far it has failed to get any significant share of the rapidly growing smartphones and tablets markets, where ARM architecture holds the lion’s share thanks to energy efficiency of the ARM technology.
Intel is trying to adopt its x86 architecture for low-power devices. A major problem for Intel is that ARM-based chips are currently more energy efficient in their majority compared to x86-based offerings and provide a lot of freedom for companies like Apple, who install their own custom-designed system-on-chips into highly-popular iPhone smartphones and iPad media tablets.
Back in the days, Intel offered StrongARM and Xscale microprocessors based on ARMv4 and ARMv5 instruction-sets, but sold the appropriate division to Marvell Semiconductor in mid-2006. Back then, Intel believed that ARM architecture is not scalable enough in terms of performance. As it turned out, ARM architectures are perfectly scalable, but power consumption of the chips increases along with performance. It is believed that the ARMv8 64-bit architecture will only be insignificantly more power-efficient than comparable x86 offerings based on AMD Jaguar or Intel Silvermont.
It is noteworthy that even AMD recently decided to develop server-class system-on-chips based on ARMv8, just like loads of other companies, including Applied Micro, Calxeda, Nvidia, Samsung, Qualcomm and many other. But Intel just does not want to make friends with ARM, complains the founding CEO of the company.
“We had to turn our enemies into friends, the only enemy we have not turned into a friend is Intel,” said Mr. Saxby.