Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 31st Oct 2012 00:46 UTC
Windows "Taiwanese computer maker Acer is putting off the launch of tablets using Microsoft's new Windows RT operating system to give itself time to see how Microsoft's own Surface tablet fares. The world's No. 4 PC vendor by shipments initially planned to roll out Windows RT tablets based on ARM chips early next year. However, the launch of Microsoft's tablet last week and the mixed reviews it has drawn has prompted Acer to wait and see until at least the second quarter of 2013." Whatever the reason, this doesn't send a very promising message about Windows RT. Or, not entirely unlikely, Acer and other OEMs just can't measure up to Surface RT.
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We shall see on consumer confusion...
by brion on Wed 31st Oct 2012 20:56 UTC
brion
Member since:
2010-11-04

I've got a Surface RT for testing and I knew what I was getting into... I'm still disappointed that you can't install anything on the desktop, especially for now when there's so few native Windows Store apps.

Windows 8 gives you compatibility by installing other browsers, plugins, and existing Windows apps; Windows RT arbitrarily chooses not to give you that, even though Microsoft reserved it for themselves by making the desktop available (and then limiting it to core Windows apps and Office).

It promises to be a 'dockable tablet' that turns into a 'real PC' when used with a keyboard, mouse, and monitor, but unless IE and Office are your life it's going to be pretty limiting.

On the plus side, if Intel keeps improving their power efficiency, we may simply see Windows RT fade into irrelevancy as the tablets and micro-laptops switch to Intel.

This makes me a bit sad, as ARM *should* work great on these devices... it's only Microsoft's choice to limit the ARM version that makes it limited; there's nothing inherent to a processor switch that makes it impossible.

(Rumor mill: ARM MacBook Airs in the next couple years with x86 app emulation and native ARM apps as fat binaries? Wouldn't surprise me one bit.)

Reply Score: 2

ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

This makes me a bit sad, as ARM *should* work great on these devices... it's only Microsoft's choice to limit the ARM version that makes it limited; there's nothing inherent to a processor switch that makes it impossible.


Yes it is Microsoft's choice to only allow Win32 for them and no one else.

You see actually porting Office to WinRT would be a huge undertaking so the brought just enough of Win32 for Office. So their stance is basically Win32 for me but not for thee. Everyone else has to start from scratch.

Yea good luck with that Sinofsky.

Oh and I think Sinofsky doesn't want anyone to know about the secret Win32 stash that only Microsoft has access to. We should not talk about it.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

brion,

"On the plus side, if Intel keeps improving their power efficiency, we may simply see Windows RT fade into irrelevancy as the tablets and micro-laptops switch to Intel."

I know what you mean, it'd be good for Windows RT restrictions to fade away into history, but like you say it'd be unfortunate if ARM were to loose out on the desktop on account of microsoft's divisive politics.

"Rumor mill: ARM MacBook Airs in the next couple years with x86 app emulation and native ARM apps as fat binaries?"

I would very much welcome that on the condition that the device were open. But with apple that's far from a given.

Edit: I would absolutely love apple right now if they came out and said "You know what guys, the walled garden was a lousy thing to do to our customers, from now on we're going to open our devices and allow customers to choose what they can run on their devices. We believe our customers will *choose* our application store because it's superior to the alternatives, not because we've locked users into our services."

This would earn apple a tremendous amount of good faith in the market, apple fanboys would still love them, but more importantly the rest of us would too. I think the tables would be turned on microsoft instantly, who would be caught with their pants down. It'd be a shocking move, but apple would totally redeem themselves in my book if they did it to become champions of open computing.

Edited 2012-11-01 01:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

The problem with ARM is it just doesn't scale well and it has lousy IPC. Companies like Nvidia have spent crazy money on ARM R&D and still can't overcome the weak IPC and the scalability problem, which is why Tegra is up to 5 cores now.

Meanwhile Intel has truly insane levels of IPC, so frankly its easier for them to scale down than it is for ARM to scale up. What we are seeing is the same thing that happened in X86, only instead of a thermal wall its a battery wall and ARM is butting up against it more and more. If the rumors are true the next die shrink and arch refresh is gonna have the Atom duals at pretty close to first gen Core levels of performance while having sub 5w power limits, and that is at native speed, they can always underclock to get the numbers even lower.

So while i'm all for competition as long as people crave performance over battery life intel is gonna end up in the better position, they have the fabs, their chips have insane IPC, and they have the processes down cold. Frankly they could sit on behind and just wait for the market to come to them but the fact that Intel is still coming up with new designs means it'll just get the market that much faster.

An Atom dual that gives you all your Windows programs in a Transformer style convertible? Sounds like a winner to me.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

bassbeast,

"The problem with ARM is it just doesn't scale well and it has lousy IPC. Companies like Nvidia have spent crazy money on ARM R&D and still can't overcome the weak IPC and the scalability problem, which is why Tegra is up to 5 cores now."

I don't know, I think most engineers would claim that being able to support many cores IS an example of good scalability. There's been a long debate over having very deep complex logic gates required to run serial logic in parallel pipelines versus having more cores on the same die space. Also, ARM has some advantages on the opcode level which can significantly reduce branching for free.

Not to dis intel though, I'm impressed with how they can essentially recompiling code on the fly to get more parallelism out of sequential instructions, it's truly an incredible feat. But this complexity has a cost, it requires more gates and power. This may be somewhat mitigated by the fact that intel has die fabrication advantages. But these pipeline gates could have gone to parallel cores instead, which theoretically should perform even better with software that can take advantage of it.

Serial programming is not scalable and deep pipelines cannot increase single thread performance any longer. The more prevalent concurrent programming becomes, the better ARM processors will perform per gate compared to x86 counterparts. More so if they use the same manufacturing technology (since ARM lags behind).

Here are some benchmarks comparing various mobile x86 and ARM processors, unfortunately they haven't included any x86 server processors for reference. Never the less, even with a faster clock, the atom does not win on all performance tests, and it consumes much more power!

http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/2011/5/19/the-coming-war-arm-v...

http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/2011/5/19/the-coming-war-arm-v...

Edited 2012-11-01 14:47 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3