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ARM/x86 Hybrid AIO PC Announced

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 26 comments

Users can go from one processor to the other simply by using the ALT-TAB command.

Friday CUPP Computing revealed a prototype hybrid PC it calls the Computicator. The rig--designed as an "always on" device--combines an x86/IA processor with an ARM/RISC processor in one platform, allowing the end user to choose between high performance and power saving modes simply by using the ALT-TAB command.

"CUPP Computing patented the integration of low power processors into the South Bridge/IOH of PC Chipsets," the company said. "This allows the seamless integration of Hybrid environments. This demo has full accessibility to all peripheries from both user modes, and most ports are shared. The TI OMAP is running Ubuntu LXDE, Midori Web Browser and Gimp. The PC is running Windows 7 Pro and Internet Explorer."

The technical specs are as follows:

  • ARM A8, TI OMAP 3430 at 720 MHz with 512 MB RAM
  • Intel CoreDuo Dual Core at 2.3 GHz with 4 GB RAM
  • 320 GB Shared Disk
  • 16-inch Shared LCD
  • Shared Keyboard and Touchpad
  • 3 USB Shared Ports
  • HDMI Out Shared

CUPP Computing said that the hybrid PC design--when implemented on a wide scale--could have a significant impact on global power consumption. "It's hoped that this technology leads to a new class of devices we call Computicator," the company added. "It is the full convergence of computing and communication."

Several videos showcasing the prototype can be seen here. An actual finished product is expected to hit the market in Q2 2011.

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  • 17 Hide
    brother shrike , September 13, 2010 9:58 PM
    Why alt tab? I can think of plenty of key combinations that are available that I don't use on a regular basis. I don't want to switch to ARM when I'm trying to switch apps...
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    brother shrike , September 13, 2010 9:58 PM
    Why alt tab? I can think of plenty of key combinations that are available that I don't use on a regular basis. I don't want to switch to ARM when I'm trying to switch apps...
  • 2 Hide
    tntom , September 13, 2010 10:06 PM
    This makes more since if it switches automatically when you unplug it.

    Quote:
    The TI OMAP is running Ubuntu LXDE, Midori Web Browser and Gimp. The PC is running Windows 7 Pro and Internet Explorer."


    Ubuntu for Arm and Win7 for x86 sounds more like switch at boot by pressing Tab+Alt, not switch on the fly while you are using windows.
  • 1 Hide
    cmartin011 , September 13, 2010 10:08 PM
    thats switch apps command right? the command should be a one unused? good idea i guess... but its just a matter of time be intel releases there new atom platform for x86 (which i would like to roll over and die already) that can turn off the area's of the chip your not using which is better than put two in one machine when one can do the job right?
  • 1 Hide
    Tohos , September 13, 2010 10:08 PM
    Would it not be better to have it seamlessly switch between the arm processor and the x86? Should be like Nvidia's optimus technology. I know I would get annoyed for switching between processors manually when my computer could do it automatically.
  • 0 Hide
    kancaras , September 13, 2010 11:20 PM
    this might also be a software level alt-tab. both operating systems could go to something sleep-like. and if you want to play a game or watch a movie you could switch to windows, and if you only need a browser ant im you could use. but i guess this technology wont roll out as fast as Network Computer. considering there are already gaming-on-demand services.
  • 2 Hide
    chickenhoagie , September 13, 2010 11:43 PM
    nevertellHybrid this, hybrid that. What's the point of a low powered arm chip, if there's a x86 powerhog sitting next to you, sipping all your power supplies dry ?

    the key is that when you switch, the other processor doesn't take in any power. thats how these things work out my friend.
  • 1 Hide
    lolsir , September 13, 2010 11:59 PM
    I am sure u can assign a different key besides alt tab to switch between processors otherwise it will be dumb.
  • 1 Hide
    Stifle , September 14, 2010 12:03 AM
    "I only use the computer to write on ms word and to browse the interwebs, but when I alt-tab switch to ms word, ITS SO SLOW, this must be an error"
    -over and over again...
  • -1 Hide
    Thunderfox , September 14, 2010 1:07 AM
    So it's a tablet and notebook in one... I guess it would save you the space of carrying both, but not particularly interesting otherwise, especially when you consider how many things are simply always going to require Windows. I suspect people won't get as much use out of the low power mode as they think they will.
  • 1 Hide
    soky602 , September 14, 2010 2:20 AM
    brother shrikeWhy alt tab? I can think of plenty of key combinations that are available that I don't use on a regular basis. I don't want to switch to ARM when I'm trying to switch apps...

    I agree, why alt tab? I personally rather have a red NOS button or even the old school turbo button :) 
  • 0 Hide
    hemelskonijn , September 14, 2010 3:58 AM
    This is genius but only if they work consecutive, i could easily run web server my torrents my teamspeak daemon and several other task on an ARM while doing my thing on the x86 part.

    I don't need to monitor those always on services all day and i don't feel like running a second machine for it!
  • 3 Hide
    eddieroolz , September 14, 2010 5:12 AM
    Certainly interesting idea, but I wonder how the OS will handle the switch.
  • 0 Hide
    dEAne , September 14, 2010 6:33 AM
    Alt Tab, I will remember that.
  • 0 Hide
    Travis Beane , September 14, 2010 6:35 AM
    That's actually pretty neat. If I know I need to go a few days or more without being able to charge a laptop, just switch to the ARM chip. Those ARM chips are pretty cheap, I wonder how much this will cost.
  • 0 Hide
    bboysil , September 14, 2010 6:43 AM
    How is an application able to run on both chips?? I mean if X is compiled for x86... the binary won't run on ARM and vice versa... Can anyone shed some light on this?
  • 0 Hide
    hydraulicjj , September 14, 2010 8:17 AM
    Sounds to me like someone married a netbook, a mid-range laptop and a KVM switch and then somehow got them both to use the same drive. XD
    Either way I like the idea very much.
  • 0 Hide
    tu_illegalamigo , September 14, 2010 1:25 PM
    It seems pretty cool. There are definitely times when I would prefer ARM risc over x86, especially when efficiency comes into play. Hybridization is good for me because common tasks like web browsing, E-mail, and instant messaging don`t need much if any real computing power. So for example if you`re flying to Australia on one charge, ARM will come in very handy.
  • 1 Hide
    zaznet , September 14, 2010 3:29 PM
    Anyone else actually watch the video? There is a clear video transition on the recording each time they switch between. The only one that could be a real transition is when they power down windows and even then the screen flickers quite a bit as the laptop goes dark then lights up again which could just be the camera adjusting to the backlighting of the display but still looks rather odd.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 14, 2010 6:08 PM
    I use ALT TAB for switching program windows.
    Why not Alt Home or something?
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