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[ITProPortal] ARM vs x86 : How 2012 Is An Inflexion Point For Intel - Page 2

post #11 of 31
The advantages of the ARM instruction set begin and end with its power consumption. The moment you add compute intensity to its workload, the moment it starts to choke. When it comes to raw computing, its still an order of magnitude slower than a 2.8Ghz Netburst.

The other problem with ARM(in general) is that several huge players share manufacturing resources which would effect their ability to produce chips. Intel has their own and are only behind scientist in a research lab when it comes to shrinking transistors.

I would like to see TI, Qualcomm, Samsung, Motorola, LG, etc make an x86 competitor, but what incentive do they have for this? The trend is that AMD and Intel are approaching ARM's low-power... ARM licensees aren't approaching Intel/AMD's high-power.

In the mean time, I'm tired of seeing articles like "The end of x86", "The end of PC gaming", "The end of the desktop", all seem to be brought about by the popularity of mobile.

HPC will always exist as these consumers still need content to consume, and I just don't see ARM CPUs creating anything.
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post #12 of 31
Honestly, if it wasn't for the ARM makers mostly locking their CPU/GPU down so they don't work with a real Linux distro as well I would be using one. Hell, if I could get a Tegra 2 or 3 chip with full GPU driver support such that I could enjoy my HD vids in Linux I'd be done with Intel and AMD for all but gaming. Nothing sucks more than knowing how awesome a Transformer (for example) would be with a real OS on it yet being unable to. Why do these companies prevent their own sales?
     
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post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post

ARM and x86 are instruction set.
What you probably mean is ARM processors vs x86 processors....

So a hypothetical ARM processor with the same raw power as a x86 processor would consume as much energy and have as large a die, or what?
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post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by xeeki View Post

So a hypothetical ARM processor with the same raw power as a x86 processor would consume as much energy and have as large a die, or what?

That's what everyone is saying it seems.
     
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post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by xeeki View Post

So a hypothetical ARM processor with the same raw power as a x86 processor would consume as much energy and have as large a die, or what?

Correct.....

Intel's x86 CPU have provided more and more performance over the years even though clockspeed has not increased that much. Intel and AMD add additional features to improve performance but use more transistors which means more power consumption.


For example, higher performing CPUs do Out-of-Order Execution. They figure the order of instructions to optimize data access and CPU usage instead of doing things as requested. This feature takes extra circuits to figure out the optimal path.

Another related example it path prediction where the CPU "guesses" the results. If the guessed path turns out to be correct, there is a significant time saved. If the path misses, you pay a slight penalty. Intel's path prediction algorithms are probably the best in the world. However, these again require more circuits.
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post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post

Correct.....
Intel's x86 CPU have provided more and more performance over the years even though clockspeed has not increased that much. Intel and AMD add additional features to improve performance but use more transistors which means more power consumption.
For example, higher performing CPUs do Out-of-Order Execution. They figure the order of instructions to optimize data access and CPU usage instead of doing things as requested. This feature takes extra circuits to figure out the optimal path.
Another related example it path prediction where the CPU "guesses" the results. If the guessed path turns out to be correct, there is a significant time saved. If the path misses, you pay a slight penalty. Intel's path prediction algorithms are probably the best in the world. However, these again require more circuits.

So just to clarify...you can't actually go the other way around and just optimize the code of everything to work for just one design thus achieving better results without the need for more transistors?
     
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post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rookie1337 View Post

So just to clarify...you can't actually go the other way around and just optimize the code of everything to work for just one design thus achieving better results without the need for more transistors?


You can.... but:
1) Not every CPU is the same. Code optimized for a Nehalem may not be optimized for Sandy Bridge.
2) Very few developers want or can to code to bare metal. Most developers do not know or care about CPU designs.
3) How the code executes may result in different optimized paths. It is really hard to account for each possibility especially when dealing with multi-threading and multicores.
4) CPUs are required to run multiple programs simultaneously.... so your optimized code may not be so optimized with other processes running. You cannot predict how code will sometimes execute on the fly.


Basically, it is too hard, time consuming, and provides no future proofing...
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post #18 of 31
There is nothing about the arm instruction set that makes it impossible to develop a performance CPU. The newest architectures can support OOO processing. Graphic chips can do media decoding, and could probably be used as secondary processors for some kinds of work loads. ARM processors have a long way to go before they end up in servers, but there is little stopping apple from developing an ARM processor that could power a macbook pro. Really the only difficult would be compatability with games. If apple could work with developers to integrate arm support in their games then apple could make the transition to ARM seamlessly. The majority of apple software is developed by apple and then the rest is licensed and distributed by apple. Consumers wouldn't know the difference so long as they performed.
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post

You can.... but:
1) Not every CPU is the same. Code optimized for a Nehalem may not be optimized for Sandy Bridge.
2) Very few developers want or can to code to bare metal. Most developers do not know or care about CPU designs.
3) How the code executes may result in different optimized paths. It is really hard to account for each possibility especially when dealing with multi-threading and multicores.
4) CPUs are required to run multiple programs simultaneously.... so your optimized code may not be so optimized with other processes running. You cannot predict how code will sometimes execute on the fly.
Basically, it is too hard, time consuming, and provides no future proofing...

I just wanted to add that the nearly all architecture specific code optimizations are done by compilers. Anything done in a high level programming language has the potential to be better optimized, and to a very limited degree can be written to play to the strengths of a particular architecture. To do better then that though you would have to code in assembly language which often times isn't practical.

The good news is that, for the most part, current compilers are pretty efficient.
post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Domino View Post

Same. But ARM has a lot of catching up to do.

According to how quickly ARM SoC's are advancing, I'd say they're catching up at a very rapid pace. Their performance is doubling and some times tripling each year. When was the last time that AMD or Intel was able to pull off that sort of performance increase?
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