Originally Posted by DuckieHo
It demonstrates that Intel has not paid attention to the Atom very much until the last 1-2 years. Do you remember what happened when Intel realized that AMD was killing their Netburst and Intel focused resources on the Core micro-architecture?
The number of designers is for the entire company though. How many do you think Intel had working on Atom 2 years ago? Fro1m the beginning, Intel had purposely gimped Atom to not cannibalize Celeron sales. They paired it with chipsets that utilized more than double the power of the CPU. They use out-of-date GPUs. They continued to use power-hungry and slow FSB.
Intel designs more than just Atom, Haswell, and GPU... they have SSDs, NICs, storage controllers, chipsets, interconnects, Thunderbolt, etc.
Yes, it will be interesting to see Silvermont compared against both A15 and A57. Note that I don't believe A57 will ever go into smartphones. The A57 are designed for microservers. The Atom of today was a half-hearted attempted which Intel re-purposed as a stop-gap against ARM. Silvermont is only the first iteration of Intel's focus against ARM.
I remember that AMD was illegally taken for Billions of dollars (far more than the amount settled for) and I remember realizing that AMD would have been equal in size to Intel today if that had not happened.
I was just counting chip designers. The actual number of employees for ARM vs Intel are:
2,261 for ARM (source)
105,000 for Intel (source)
I don't know how many Atom designers there have been, but I do know that each revision of Atom was more than just a die shrink -- many rather large changes were made to the core and to the SoC. These changes would take a fairly large design team to execute especially when accounting for working around x86. Considering the time to make a new architecture, Silvermont had a full development team shortly after the launch of the original Atom, so between both of these projects, I would say that Intel poured lots of resources into the project.
A57 is the same core as A15 with some tweaks. They then extend the core to add the ability to do 64-bit calculations in compliance with their new ISA. This is similar to what AMD did, but ARM took out the time to get rid of stuff in 64-bit mode that AMD couldn't or wouldn't. Anand mentioned in one of his articles that quite a number of the engineers he had talked to were surprised at the power consumption and size of A15 relative to it's performance. This is because A15 was rushed out the door to show that ARM could produce a chip competitive with Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm. It is possible to design and ship a more powerful chip in less time if optimizations are foregone.
A57 and A53 target 20nm which will offer better power and performance than A15 and A9 (A53 is a ARMv8 compliant A9). Considering A57 tapped out in April, it is the competition for silvermont. ARM made A57 and A53 to work in big.little configuration which indicates that server performance is secondary and possibly another design based on A57, but with server-only hardware (besides, they've got Nvidia and AMD paying them for the right to tackle the problem at no financial risk to ARM). A53 should have great power consumption figures while A57 should have better power consumption than silvermont (simply because it's smaller) while A57 probably has comparable performance. The ability to completely shut down the higher clocking cores and just run the A53 gives ARM a huge advantage over Intel as most mobile applications don't need more performance than an A9 offers currently. The A57 is just extra.