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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Which is easier, to take a rich man who drives a fast car and convince him to drive a run-of-the-mill sedan, or to put a poor man into that same sedan?

Define easier.

By "easier", I mean less technically challenging... Atom/Bobcat are fundamentally more similar to their ancestor designs than current designs. Intel and AMD are taking the route of removing complexities in order to achieve lower power use (Intel by going in order, AMD by sharing execution resources with a single frontend). The point is the complexities they are removing in many cases are what make their higher end parts perform so well.

ARM has never had those types of complexities in the first place - most of the special sauce on ARM (Thumb for example) is to optimize things for the embedded space - smaller binares, better performance with smaller caches, etc. No one has ever tried to make an ARM core where performance was the primary goal - all existing cores where designed for power envelopes an order of magnitude or more smaller than high end x86 parts.

I'm not at all saying you can't make a very fast ARM core - I'm just saying it isn't as simple as just ramping up the clock speed and doing some minor reworking - a 3Ghz ARM might be possible with current designs - but even at 3Ghz it would have a long way to go to reach the performance levels of a similarly clocked i5/Phenom core, let alone match them when they can legitimately run at 4Ghz or more themselves. Im just saying it will take a lot of work to make ARM competitive if you factor out power use, and I have no reason at all to believe that nVidia could accomplish such a feat.

Also, I want to stress I am talking about single threaded performance, i.e performance per core, not overall performance. ARM can scale up very well by just throwing more cores at the problem, but that is not the same thing.

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