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ARM claims processor superiority over Intel's Silvermont

Agam Shah | June 4, 2013
ARM executives say its Cortex-A15 and A7 processors offer more performance per watt than Intel's upcoming Atom chips based on Silvermont

Unlike Intel, ARM-based chips do not have 3D transistor stacking features. But ARM is catching up on that, Hurley said. Third-party chip manufacturers GlobalFoundries and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.), which make ARM-based chips for companies like Qualcomm and Nvidia, are expected to implement 3D transistors in 2014 or 2015.

ARM chips can also be combined into low-power and high-performance cores, a flexibility not provided by Intel, Hurley said. He was referring to ARM's Big.Little technology, in which low-power and high-performance cores can be combined on chips for improved power efficiency relative to performance. Samsung uses the design on its Exynos 5 eight-core chip, which has four high-performance Cortex-A15 cores for demanding tasks like graphics, and four Cortex-A7 low power cores for mundane tasks like MP3 playback or text messaging.

ARM executives also pointed out a software advantage, saying most gaming applications are natively written for the company's processors.

While ARM has a lead in mobile, executives did not dismiss Intel, saying x86 will have a long life in computing products like PCs.

But PC shipments tumbling and mobile on the rise, ARM is poised for growth, said Ian Drew, chief marketing officer of ARM, at the news conference.

"We see this market being significantly larger than PCs," Drew said.

 

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