Reply to post: Re: Computer says "No"

Now Microsoft ports Windows 10, Linux to homegrown CPU design

bazza Silver badge

Re: Computer says "No"

FIA said:

Isn't this kind of backwards? Remember ARM were an order of magnitude faster than X86 when they debuted, it's just the focus switched to low power/embedded when Intel's focus remained on high performance.

Well, I was around at the time the first Acorn Archimedes computers came out. They were quick, they weren't quicker than a high end PC, especially one with a '87 coprocessor. They were cheaper though, so whilst 386 equipped PCs did exist and would blow the pants of an Archimedes, no one could afford a PC like that. Even a 286 or 86 equipped PC was an expensive, comparatively rare item back then.

A modern ARM core, especially a 64bit one tunes for speed can be quite quick too. See the CPUs coming out of Apple for example.

The guys behind the K computer in Japan are considering ARM for their next super computer. ARMs have always been excellent choices in the circumstance of using the core to marshal other units (like video decompressors, math units, etc, which is what's going on inside a phone).

Making an ARM as fast as a big Intel chip is mostly a matter of achieving the same DRAM bandwidth, having big caches, etc. This all takes a lot of transistors, just like it does in X86s. The advantage ARM has is that they don't have to translate a CISC instruction set (X86) into a RISC instruction set prior to execution. That's what's going on inside modern X86 processors. By not doing this, ARM saves a lot of transistors.

Intel's current range of big CPUs have main memory bandwidths of 100GByte/sec; that's a huge amount, and is unmatched by any ARM. This allows Xeons to really chomp through an awful lot of processing very quickly indeed, keeping their cores fully fed. Same with AMD's current processors; they're monsters.

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