Under pressure from Intel's Atom, chip makers VIA and Nvidia have apparently agreed that their interests should undergo fusion, and have agreed to brings their respective processors and integrated chipsets into orbit around each other. Dodgy particle physics metaphors aside, the deal - motherboard makers moles allege - is about …
Please, somebody bring out a cheap RISC processor and give us some variety from X86. Why, when we have had the sense to see the benefits of multicore processors are we still trying to stuff x86 pints into low cost half pint pots? So bloody windows will run on the sodding things. Stick 20 RISC shorts in the low cost half pint pot and give us something to get exited about. So what if bloody vista cant run on it, the bloated pig is a joke on this kind of hardware anyway.
It's called ARM.
For same functionality it uses about 1/10th power, less ROM & RAM and about 1/5th of the PCB space.
It's not good at stuff like cryptography or 3D graphics or MPEG, so they stick custom silicon as co-processors to do that.
About 100,000 transistors compared with 10,000,000 on an Intel, so lots of room for other on-chip stuff.
No support chips needed as per Intel.
There are versions with video I/O, LCD, touch screen, USB, audio I/O all built in too.
Samsung even has one with the FLASH and RAM layered in a 3 chip module same size as a regular chip (Intel/Via/AMD version would fry).
Basically you can get a ARM based laptop on a Chip.
About 100 chip makers / designers licence ARM cores.
No shortage of RISC
Pretty much every PDA or smartphone runs on some sort of RISC CPU.
You may also wish to check out the Pandora (http://openpandora.org/) which, although it's designed for gaming, should serve as an incredibly powerful PDA.
No one has the money or experience for that scale of hardware investment, they see it as whats the point for a few geeks here and there.
From an OS point of view Linux distro's dont have the balls to go to mass market.
If its not on a shelf with a special 25% off it will never get to joe bloggs.
Have one in a zaurus, it's not great when it comes to floating points but works very well otherwise. It will sit in suspend for a couple of months on a single charge and be ready to use in a couple of seconds if needed, run for over 8 hours with the backlight one step down from full and play mp3's for a solid 24hours with the lid closed. And it runs linux :) There was a craze for the things in Japan for a while (bigest selling PDA for a few years) but they where never really imported to the west in any great numbers.
The thing runs an Xserver and will run KDE (full, not a cut down set of libs) at an acceptable speed. Nokia's net tablet is along similar lines and there are dozens of other similar devices from various manufacturers but they always get labled 'not a computer' because none of them run windows. No fault of the hardware, this thing isn't fast for a recent ARM and would handle XP easily, but MS aren't capable of getting their system to run on anything other than X86.
The eee has been a very successfull experiment for asus and judging from the customer responce it has proved that for the eee's class of device windows is not essential, folks aren't buying the things for constructing 3d animations but for portable documents and internet in a cheap package with an easy to use interface.
A lot of the joe public response is surprise at the capabilities of units they bought knowing they where cheap and expecting cut-down usability. Going down the X86 road is going to be a serious limitation further down the road as the same customers look for an upgrade and find performance is still no better than a 4 year old desktop despite a couple of years of development in a competitive market. If MS can't get off their arse and port to a more suitable processor for small devices then the market will fork as manufacturers give customers the cake they expect but without windows to eat it with. ARM is only on side of the coin, IBM are happy enough with the core judging by their server range and will start looking for other markets, and no one ever got fired for buying IBM.
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