Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 5th Jan 2011 22:09 UTC
Windows And this is part two of the story: Microsoft has just confirmed the next version of Windows NT (referring to it as NT for clarity's sake) will be available for ARM - or more specifically, SoCs from NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments. Also announced today at CES is Microsoft Office for ARM. Both Windows NT and Microsoft Office were shown running on ARM during a press conference for the fact at CES in Las Vegas.
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RE[2]: No downside for Microsoft.
by Ravyne on Thu 6th Jan 2011 07:46 UTC in reply to "RE: No downside for Microsoft."
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Arm doesn't deal better, and that's kind of the point -- no traditional CPU does or likely ever will. The closest paradigm shift on the horizon is GPGPU, and specifically heterogenous on-chip computing (AMDs Fusion, Nvidia's Tegra2 and Project Denver announcement). The first of these products look like CPUs with little GPUs attached, but over time that will shift towards looking a lot more like big GPUs with little CPUs attached.

Ultimately there's a limit on how many 'serial' processors (heretofore "CPUs") are useful in a system. parallel processors (heretofore "GPUs") on the other hand, are happy to spread the load across as many computing elements as they have available. Tasks for the GPU are high-throughput data parallel, while tasks suitable for the CPU are, comparatively, low throughput and data-serial or I/O bound -- there's only so much actual compute work to be spread around. Paralell tasks are also the 'sexy' ones -- graphics, gaming, HPC and the Serial tasks are not. Eventually, the CPU will become little more than a traffic-cop routing data into and out-of the GPU.

Now, this, in and of itself is not good for ARM -- they're in no better position than x86, or MIPS or Sparc. What makes this a good thing for ARM is that we are nearing an inflection point where the traditional hardware ISA compatability isn't going to amount to much. Its not actually true that Sparc or MIPS has as good a chance as ARM -- neither are a 'consumer-facing' architecture, yes, only geeks know or care about ARM vs x86, but by consumer-facing I mean that ARM runs what the typical user desires (email, facebook, flash content, streaming video) and does it in form-factors that are popular and while undercutting the competition on price. When the CPU architecture no longer matters a great deal, the x86 (and specifically intel) market share is so high that it can only decline. My argument is that only ARM will be there to pick up the pieces if or when that happens.

There's something of a perfect storm aligning against the traditional lockin Intel and x86 have enjoyed -- heterogenous computing (Fusion, Cuda, OpenCL), the 'cloud', a shift away from desktops to laptops (and eventually smaller iPhone-like devices) -- ARM is ready for this.

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