As most of us will know, x86 pretty much owns the laptop and desktop markets, and is doing pretty well in the server business as well. When it comes to the fast growing mobile market, however, x86 is out of place, and can't compete in any significant way with ARM's chips.
ARM, however, has its sights on more than just the mobile market - they want a piece of the server pie, with their low-cost, power-efficient architecture. Today, ARM announced its Cortex-A15 MPCore chips, which will come in single, dual, and quad-core configurations at speeds of up to 2.5Ghz. Virtualisation is built right into the server variants of these chips, and they can support up to one terabyte of memory.
"The launch of the Cortex-A15 MPCore processor marks the beginning of an entirely new era for the ARM Partnership. It brings together more than 20 years of ARM expertise in low-power design with a host of new and very aggressive high-performance technologies," said Mike Inglis, EVP and GM, Processor Division, ARM, "The Cortex-A15 MPCore processor will become the next major step along the industry's energy efficient computing roadmap and open up a wide range of new application possibilities for our Partners."
I just do not understand why manufacturers like Dell, HP, and the like do not design and ship both laptops and desktops with multiple ARM processors, instead of shipping the same old boring standard boxes everybody else ships as well. Can you imagine a laptop with, I don't know, three or four dual-core ARM chips, running at 1.5Ghz each, with the ability to shut down each of these processors if they're not needed? What about a workstation with eight of these quad-core babies, powering on when needed?
Probably a pipe-dream for now, but ARM's aggressive new line-up of processors indicates the company is dead-serious about conquering markets it used to have no place in. They're aiming at servers now, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them work their way towards desktops and laptops (other than netbooks) as well. It just makes sense.