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Intel CEO Talks About Competing with Arm

By - Source: CNET | B 31 comments

Intel CEO Paul Otellini talked about the company's plans to take on ARM in a fourth-quarter earnings conference call.

During Intel's fourth-quarter earnings conference call Thursday, CEO Paul Otellini revealed company plans to compete with the rapidly growing ARM chip ecosystem knocking at the backdoor. Currently ARM is leading the tablet sector with giant leaps, with Apple's offering its own flavor of ARM in the iPad, and Motorola, RIM and Samsung basing their tablet designs around the power-efficient ARM processors.

Of course, there's also rival Nvidia and its just-announced "Project Denver" consisting of a Nvidia CPU--running the ARM instruction set--that's fully integrated with a Nvidia GPU. This will bring ARM up into the PC sector, making it available for desktops, data center servers and even supercomputers.

"ARM’s modern architecture, open business model, and vibrant eco-system have led to its pervasiveness in cell phones, tablets, and other embedded devices," said Nvidia's Bill Dally in a recent blog. "Denver is the catalyst that will enable these same factors to propel ARM to become pervasive in higher-end systems."

So what's a CPU giant to do in order to show the new kid in town who's boss? Attack from three fronts, starting with the Atom processor. "In 2011, you will also see Atom in a wide array of tablets running three different operating systems: Windows, Android, and MeeGo," Otellini said during the call.

An analyst asked how Android development partners would differentiate between Atom and ARM-based tablets. Otellini responded by saying that Atom-based tablets can run multiple operating systems "which I think is a unique value proposition with Intel."

The second prong of its attack on ARM is Intel's "manufacturing prowess" as described by Otellini. "As we have done for decades in the traditional computing markets, we will apply the world's most advanced silicon transistor technology to these new segments to deliver the lowest power, highest performance, lowest-cost products on the planet," he said.

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  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , January 14, 2011 6:38 PM
    Yeah, that's the same strategy you've had with Atom all along, which has succeeded in:

    *creating the worst PC experience you can buy without digging an old PC out of the trash
    * cannibalizing sales of real notebooks
    * failing to deliver a TDP sufficient for cellphones without clocking them down to 300mhz

    Nowhere within there have they created a chip that's faster AND competitive on performance per watt. They have faster chips that consume way too much power, and they have that are semi-competitive on TDP but are not as fast as ARM at the same TDP.
  • 4 Hide
    stingstang , January 14, 2011 7:19 PM
    Scrap Atom architecture. It's NEVER been efficient, it's NEVER been fast, it's NEVER beaten anything in it's class. It's been outclassed by a low-powered core2duo since it's introduction.
  • 0 Hide
    fazers_on_stun , January 14, 2011 7:25 PM
    Intel needs to take Oak Trail to 22nm with 4 CPUs and a 24EU HD4000 GPU...
  • -1 Hide
    azcoyote , January 14, 2011 7:36 PM
    stingstangScrap Atom architecture. It's NEVER been efficient, it's NEVER been fast, it's NEVER beaten anything in it's class. It's been outclassed by a low-powered core2duo since it's introduction.


    Hmm... Well, my tiny Netbook that lasts 8 hours on a 6 cell battery and fits into my day planner would have to disagree Sting....

    Find me any C2D that can do all of that.
  • 2 Hide
    Niva , January 14, 2011 7:41 PM
    Really intel, you'll provide the highest power at the lowest cost? Puhlease...

    Thanks to your competition we can actually afford some of your products these days, otherwise we'd be payink 1k for an atom I'm sure.
  • 2 Hide
    saturnus , January 14, 2011 8:12 PM
    I'm sorry Intel. This is one battle you're gonna lose. ARM is the most popular platform in the world for a very good reason and that's because ever since they were conceived in the early 80s as a competitor to the x86 platform they have beaten x86 based chip on cost due to minimal silicon real-estate and performance per watt. The platform is so popular that it's practically impossible to imagine a household without several ARM chips. Be it in the micro-oven, washer-dryer, or in mobile phones.
  • 1 Hide
    photoguy73 , January 14, 2011 8:20 PM
    They said they would "Attack from three fronts", but I only counted 2 - (1)Atom chips in the tablet market, and (2)using their "manufacturing prowess" to out perform ARM. What's the third?
  • 8 Hide
    saturnus , January 14, 2011 8:35 PM
    photoguy73They said they would "Attack from three fronts", but I only counted 2 - (1)Atom chips in the tablet market, and (2)using their "manufacturing prowess" to out perform ARM. What's the third?


    Bribery naturally. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , January 14, 2011 8:39 PM
    If I'm not mistaken, TSMC fabs some of the Atom chips, so what state of the art silicon transistor technology are they using that anyone else can't also use? Heck, AMD fabs a lot of their stuff at TSMC too. Does Intel own the process by which these chips are fabbed? I mean, if TSMC has the equipment necessary to fab these chips, can't anyone "rent-out" that equipment? I guess I'm confused.
  • -3 Hide
    FloKid , January 14, 2011 9:46 PM
    So is Intel making an ARM system??? or is this CEO from China? I am just kiddin ofcource, but it seems like ARM is just a fancy name for the new types of processors. It can still be called Pentium, but with smaller design process, and what's so great about the new instruction set anyways...
  • 2 Hide
    whooleo , January 14, 2011 10:16 PM
    Zacate!
  • 0 Hide
    joytech22 , January 14, 2011 10:17 PM
    Intel + ARM = :( 

    In other words..

    Intel + ARM = unhappy people with cost/performance ration and power usage.
    Unless they somehow take Atom to 10nm intel loses.

    Rate me down all you want but i'll always stay +1 i hope.
  • 2 Hide
    malphas , January 14, 2011 10:17 PM
    What the hell are you talking about, FloKid?
  • 0 Hide
    dogman_1234 , January 14, 2011 10:39 PM
    FloKidSo is Intel making an ARM system??? or is this CEO from China? I am just kiddin ofcource, but it seems like ARM is just a fancy name for the new types of processors. It can still be called Pentium, but with smaller design process, and what's so great about the new instruction set anyways...


    What you possibly mean is that the ARM microarchitecture will be ARM, but whatever Intel odes withit...they will call it a "pentium"?
  • 0 Hide
    jimmysmitty , January 14, 2011 11:14 PM
    stingstangScrap Atom architecture. It's NEVER been efficient, it's NEVER been fast, it's NEVER beaten anything in it's class. It's been outclassed by a low-powered core2duo since it's introduction.


    Last time I checked a low power Core 2 uses about 20w+ when idle. Atom based on Oak Trail is supposed to use somewhere around 8W max. Quite a difference.

    Performance wise, Core 2 will beat Atom. Atom isn't meant for mainstream or high performance. Its mean for UMIDs. Its the reason why Netbooks even exist and it will only get better as Intel goes lower on their process technology.

    hellwigIf I'm not mistaken, TSMC fabs some of the Atom chips, so what state of the art silicon transistor technology are they using that anyone else can't also use? Heck, AMD fabs a lot of their stuff at TSMC too. Does Intel own the process by which these chips are fabbed? I mean, if TSMC has the equipment necessary to fab these chips, can't anyone "rent-out" that equipment? I guess I'm confused.


    http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4087926/Update-Intel-TSMC-Atom-partnership-on-hold

    Not quite. It didn't exactly go through and currently Oak Trail is using Intels 45nm High-K/Metal Gate technology that no one else has been able to get and as well wont have till 32nm with AMDs Bulldozer.

    I would imagine that's the state of the art silicon transistor technology that he is talking about since Intel is normally the top of the transistor tech industry. Plus they can always push Atom down to 32nm which will cut power usage down quite a bit. Or skip to 22nm. that would probably devastate the competition though since they can push near 3.8GHz at about 1v.

    I don't think Intel will try to crush ARM but more challenge them.

    FloKidSo is Intel making an ARM system??? or is this CEO from China? I am just kiddin ofcource, but it seems like ARM is just a fancy name for the new types of processors. It can still be called Pentium, but with smaller design process, and what's so great about the new instruction set anyways...


    No Intel is still using x86. Just that Atom is their offering in the UMID world and if played right, can challenge ARM which will be betetr for us in the end.

    As for new instruction sets, they always make stuff better. Normally they allow the CPU to perform that task better and faster so long as the software takes advantage of the instruction sets.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 15, 2011 12:06 AM
    The article is about Intel x86 competing with ARM, let's do the math:

    Lowest forthcoming TDP of an Atom SOC is like 4w, but the thing only runs at like 300mhz

    Typical ARM TDP: 1w, and much faster than the above mentioned Atom processor.

    Attempting to muscle an inferior design into the market with advanced fab tech is a huge fail re: comparing 65nm Pentium IV to a superior 90nm Athlon 64. Thank goodness Intel has monopoly money and undue influence on the industry, if AMD had a Larrabee followed by an Atom, they would've already already went under by now.
  • 1 Hide
    free_radical , January 15, 2011 12:54 AM
    joytech22Intel + ARM = In other words..Intel + ARM = unhappy people with cost/performance ration and power usage.Unless they somehow take Atom to 10nm intel loses.Rate me down all you want but i'll always stay +1 i hope.


    10nm will not be reached with current semiconductor technology. The practical limit has been placed somewhere around 20 nm.
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , January 15, 2011 1:03 AM
    Intel seeks to dominate another market. ARM is there and dominating because their offering is superior to the crappy Atom chips.
  • 0 Hide
    ProDigit10 , January 15, 2011 1:26 AM
    it was to be expected, I didn't say anything, secretly hoping Intel would try to keep the (dying) x86 architecture alive, but I knew in advance, when MS made Windows ARM compatible, that's the end for x86; and the beginning of ultra affordable netbooks!
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 15, 2011 5:04 AM
    x86 is over engineered. ARM saw that 20 years ago. ARMs run well from 1W to 10W. ARM can scale up but INTC can't scale down as well with x86 and the legacy they have to carry. ARM can just exploit multi-core interconnect to scale-up. Intel can do the same but with less overall benefit. I don't count intel out but I wouldn't buy their stock either. Intel's response seems misguided.
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